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Historical Society 









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Gift or Andrew Unsdon to thc Buffalo Historical Society and the Citv of Buffalo. 

Sec Pace 480 




♦Millard Fillmore, 1862 to 1867 

*Henry \V. Rogers, 1868 

*Rev. Albert T. Chester, D. D 1869 

*Orsamus H. Marshall 1870 

*Hon. Nathan K. Hall 1871 

♦William H. Greene, 1872 

*Orlando Allen, 1873 

*Oliver G. Steele, 1874 

*Hon. James Sheldon, . 1875 and 18S6 

♦William C. Bryant, 1876 

♦Capt. E. P. Dorr, 1877 

Hon. William P. Letchworth 1878 

William H. H. Newman. '. . 1879 and 18S5 

♦Hon. Elias S. Hawley. : :\ 1880 

*Hon. James M. Smith, 1881 

♦William Hodge, 1882 

♦William Dana Fobes, 1883 and 1S84 

♦Emmor Haines, 1&S7 

♦James Tillinghast. . 188S 

♦William K. Allen, 1889 

♦George S. Hazard, 1800 and 1892 

♦Joseph C. Greene, M. D . . 1S91 

♦Julius H. Dawes, l8 93 

Andrew Langdon, 1894 to ioc 4 

* Deceased. 


THE documents and narratives contained in the fol- 
lowing pages are so fully explained and annotated 
as they appear that little if anything further by way 
of comment is here called for. 

Unlike most of the material thus far contained in the 
Publications of the Buffalo Historical Society, the letters 
of Thomas Jefferson are not of merely local but of the 
widest interest. They afford glimpses of the mind of their 
writer, especially in his later years, and enable one to see 
somewhat clearer than heretofore, in what light he viewed 
the fundamental propositions of Christianity. 

The journals of Gen. Henry A. S. Dearborn, here first 
printed, are a distinct contribution to the history of the ne- 
gotiations which resulted in the relinquishment by the Sene- 
cas of the old Buffalo Creek Reservation. In the four reser- 
vations of Alleghany, Buffalo, Cattaraugus and Tonawanda. 
there were about 119,000 acres. It was inevitable that the 
increase of the white population around these tracts, espe- 
cially at Buffalo, should exert a constantly-increasing pres- 
sure upon the Indians to part with their lands. The right 
to purchase from the Indian had been acquired from Massa- 
chusetts by the so-called Ogden Company. The policy of 
the United States Government, from the days of President 
Jackson, had been favorable to the removal of the Indians 




to Western lands, for the most part beyond the Mississippi. 
President Van Buren, in a message to Congress, in Decem- 
ber, 1837, urged such removal ; and in a special message. 
Jan. 14, 1840, he stated that 40,000 Indians had been trans- 
ferred to lands west of the Mississippi, since 1837. 

The council held on the Buffalo Reservation in the sum- 
mer of 1838, was an effort to secure the consent of a ma- 
jority of the Seneca chiefs to a treaty which had been 
adopted by the Senate, providing for the emigration of the 
New York Indians. The proceedings of that council may 
be gathered from Gen. Dearborn's journal. Accusations 
were made, particularly by the Society of Friends, that many 
of the chiefs were bribed to gain their consent. A well- 
informed writer, the Hon. Lewis H. Morgan, has denounced 
the transactions of this period in strong terms : 

"The darkest frauds, the basest bribery, and the most 
execrable intrigues which soulless averice could suggest 
have been practiced in open day, upon this defenceless and 
much-injured people. . . . The Georgia treaty with 
the Cherokees, so justly held up to execration, is a white 
page compared with the treaties of 1838 and 1842, which 
were forced upon the Senecas. This project has already, 
however, in part, been defeated by the load of iniquity 
which hung upon the skirts of these treaties." ("League of 
the Iroquois," ed. of 185 1, p. 33.) 

Again he says (p. 458) : "The [U. S.] Government bar- 
tered away its integrity to minister to the rapacious demands 
of the Ogden Land Company." These and similar accusa- 
tions implicate the good name of the Federal Government. 
of Massachusetts and New York, and their representatives. 
One principal ground -of complaint was, that the consents of 
the Indians were secured in many cases, not in open council. 
but singly, in hotel rooms, or elsewhere, where liquor and 
money could effectively be used to secure the signature of 


the vacillating chieftain. The suggestion that signatures be 
thus obtained, may have come from Gen. Dearborn himself, 
though there is not the slightest ground for suspicion that 
he used or countenanced any fraudulent methods. Con- 
vinced of the advisability of the treaty, he believed that the 
opposition to it originated with interested whites, who wished 
the Indians to keep their reservation lands, in order to profit 
from mill and lumber privileges for which they paid the 
Indians very small sums. 

In sending the treaty to the Senate, Jan. 14, 1840, Presi- 
dent Van Buren declared that in his opinion the signatures 
had been obtained by fraud, and that the treaty ought not to 
be ratified. After being debated, through a period of eleven 
days, the vote stood nineteen to nineteen, and the treaty- 
was ratified by the casting vote of R. M. Johnson, the Vice- 
President, in the affirmative. A memorial, signed by sixty- 
seven Seneca chiefs, begged that no appropriation be made 
to carry out the treaty, as they did not wish to leave their 
homes in New York. In the next year — 1841 — several peti- 
tions were sent to Congress, asking that the Indians be for- 
cibly removed; but before action was taken, the committee 
was discharged from further consideration of the petitions. 
Governor Everett of Massachusetts, in his message of 1839. 
expressed the view that if the State had known all that it had 
since learned, it would not have consented to the request of 
the Ogden Company. Governor William H. Seward of New 
York wrote: "I am fully satisfied that the consent of the 
Senecas was obtained by fraud, corruption and violence, and 
it is therefore false, and ought to be held void." ("A Further 
Illustration of the Case of the Seneca Indians," p. 80.) 

The outcome of it all was, that a very few of the Senecas 
and Tuscaroras removed to the West ; and a compromise was 
effected with the Ogden Company, by which the Senecas 


retained 52,000 acres of the 119,000 in controversy, being the 
Cattaraugus and Alleghany reservations. This arrangement 
was effected by the Buffalo treaty of 1842. Another result 
was the adoption by the Senecas of a constitution, and the 
establishment of a new form of self-government. 

The sale of the valuable lands of the old Buffalo Creek 
Reservation naturally followed the treaty of 1842 ; but that 
these old negotiations sustain a live relation to present-day 
transactions, is perhaps all too familiar to those who now buy 
or sell some portions of these lands. The question of the 
validity of title has been repeatedly passed upon, but not 
always, it would appear, with full knowledge of the facts. A 
valuable report made to the State Legislature, Jan. 22, 1857, 
from the judiciary committee of the Senate, represents the 
rights of the Senecas to their lands as absolute, through a 
series of conveyances down to that date from the State of 
Massachusetts, from Oliver Phelps and from Robert Morris ; 
and that no parties had then any preemptive title to their 
lands. In recent years, inquiries have been made as to 
whether the city of Buffalo had any rights in or title to the 
parcels of land known as the Indian Church Square and 
Indian Church Cemetery. In 1882 Mayor Grover Cleveland 
vetoed a resolution for setting out trees on the first-named 
tract on the ground that it did not belong to the city. "On 
the contrary," he added, "the land appears to be the property 
of the Seneca nation of Indians." In 1896, Mr. Charles L. 
Feldman, Corporation Counsel, acting under a resolution of 
the Common Council, made an investigation and report on the 
whole matter of the city's right or title in the lands in ques- 
tion. His long report left some matters unsettled, but did 
show that the city had no title to the Indian Church Cemetery 
and the so-called "Square." The latter tract is now well- 
nigh obliterated ; crossed by a street, and partly built over. 


The cemetery tract is smaller than formerly, through the 
setting-in of the fence, and seems likely before long to share 
the common fate of land in that fast-growing part of Buffalo. 
It is still a beautiful place, with many historic associations. 
Here may still be traced the outlines of a prehistoric earth- 
work. Before the white man came, it was the Indians' village 
site or burial-place. At a later day Red Jacket and his 
associates, and Mary Jemison, "the white woman of the 
Genesee," were buried here, under fine old oaks and walnuts, 
still standing. There is a strong desire, on the part of mem- 
bers of the Historical Society and others, that this place of 
many associations be spared, and kept in a state of nature. 
Its addition to the park system has been repeatedly advo- 
cated, but as yet without result. 

In a subsequent volume of these Publications, perhaps in 
connection with further material from the unpublished 
papers of Gen. Dearborn, it is proposed to print the history 
of the Indian Church Square and Cemetery, with a full 
report on the validity of title, and other related matters, by 
a competent hand. The Historical Society may not be able 
to preserve this tract for the enjoyment of present residents 
of Buffalo and of posterity ; but it can at least make avail- 
able a record of the facts in the case. 

The Society was most fortunate to secure for publication 
in this volume Mr. Charles Mulford Robinson's admirable 
and definitive biography of his ancestor, the Honorable 
Augustus Porter, one of the large and influential figures in 
the early history of Western New York. With this is pub- 
lished, for the first time in full, Judge Porter's own narra- 
tive of his early years ; and a number of other journals by 
early surveyors of our region. The one surveyor of all most 
important in the early history of Buffalo was Joseph Ellicott. 
He too left a journal, and an exceedingly voluminous corres- 


pondence. It was the original intention of the editor of this 
volume, to include the Ellicott papers with the others relating 
to the pioneer surveyors; but when the work of preparing 
them for the press was undertaken there was found to be so 
much of them of historic interest, that they could not be 
included in the present volume without making it too large. 
They will form an important part of a future volume. 

The Bunn and Ramsav narratives, and other bibliosra- 
phical matter, are printed in pursuance of the plan entered 
upon in volume V of these Publications, to publish lists of 
books in the several fields of the literature of our region, and 
reprints of a few of the important rare things which, because 
of their great scarcity, are practically unknown and inac- 
cessible to most readers. 

Acknowledgment, for help given in the preparation of 
this volume, is gratefully made to Mr. Charles Mulford 
Robinson of Rochester ; Mr. Alexander J. Porter of Niagara 
Falls; the Hon. Peter A. Porter of Buffalo; and Miss 
Frances L. Spencer, Erie, Pa. In the preparation of the 
index, as was the case with that of Volume VI, the editor 
has had the expert assistance of Miss Ellen M. Chandler of 
the Buffalo Public Library. It corrects and fills out many 
names which in the text are. incomplete or incorrect ; not so 
through inadvertence, but because it is desirable, in a pub- 
lication of this character, to print old journals and other 
documents as their authors wrote them ; reserving for notes 
and index guidance which may be necessary for the reader. 

F. H. S. 



Officers of the Society iii 

List of Presidents of the Society iv 

Preface ...... v 

A Bundle of Thomas Jefferson's Letters I 

Journals of Henry A. S. Dearborn: 

Introduction 35 

First Visit to the Senecas and Tuscaroras .... 39 

Second Visit to the Senecas, in 1838 185 

Tour to Cattaraugus, in 1839 • • • , 2I 9 

Narratives and Journals of Pioneer Surveyors: 

Life of Augustus Porter . Charles Mulford Robinson 229 

Early Life of Augustus Porter . . 

Written by himself in 1848 277 

Letters of Augustus Porter 323 

Life and Adventures of Judah Colt 

Written by himself 331 / 

Notes by Joseph Landon 361 

Survey of the South Shore of Lake Erie, 1789 365 

The Life and Adventures of Matthew Bunn 377 

The Story of David Ramsay 437 






Proceedings of the Buffalo Historical Society: 

Forty-second Annual Meeting 453 

President's Address 453 

Election of Officers 456 

Secretary's Report 456 

pLiFE and Services of John Jay . George A. Stringer 465- 

The Statue of David 480 

The Mary Norton Thompson Tablet 483 

Obituary Notes 48S 


Bibliographical Data 495 

A Book that Grew: Editions of "Life of Mary 

Jemison" 496 

Sale of the Seneca Lands; a Reference List . . . 502 

Note on Matthew Bunn's "Narrative" 504 


Buffalo Historical Society Membership 507 

Buffalo Historical Society Publications 515 

Index 5 2 i 


Statue of David, Delaware Park. Frontispiece 

Portrait, Ezekiel Lane faces page 1 10 

Portrait, Augustus Porter . . 
Porter Arms and Crest . . . 
Homestead, Col. Joshua Porter . 
Portrait, Mrs. Augustus Porter 






Silver Urn, Porter Homestead, Niagara Falls Faces page 

Homestead, Judge Augustus Porter 

First Bridge to Goat Island 

Second Bridge to Goat Island 

Gold Medal awarded for bronze statue of 
David, Paris, 1900 

Mary Norton Thompson Tablet 

Portrait, Wilson S. Bis sell 

Portrait, Ellis Webster 

Portrait, Nelson K. Hopkins 

Portrait, Robert B. Adam 








Historical Society 












Secretary of the Buffalo Historical Society 

Among the unpublished manuscripts in the possession of 
the Buffalo Historical Society, are a number of letters by 
Thomas Jefferson. The student of American history and 
letters, especially of the period in which Jefferson lived and 
wrote, may find his credulity somewhat taxed by this an- 
nouncement. When one reflects that next to Washington 
himself, perhaps no figure in our national history — certainly 
no figure in our Revolutionary history — has been the subject 
of more thorough and continued study than has that of 
Jefferson, the claim that at this day any of his letters exist, 
unpublished, is little short of presumptuous. A brief recital 
of the facts will enable the reader to judge for himself. 

Something more than thirty years ago Mrs. Pauline E. 
Henry of Philadelphia gave to the Buffalo Historical Society 
a collection of the writings and correspondence of her grand- 
father, Francis Adrian van der Kemp. Him I will presently 
introduce, in propria persona; for the moment it may suffice 
that he was an early settler of Central New York, a man of 
culture, who enjoyed the friendship of many of the most 
eminent Americans of his day. Among his papers was the 
journal of a tour he had made from the Hudson to Lake 


Ontario in 1792. Some years after the gift of these papers 
to the Buffalo Historical Society the Rev. Albert Bigelow, 
then acting as its Secretary, edited two volumes of its Publi- 
cations, which were issued respectively in 1879 an( l 1880. 
He recognized the value of the narrative of the journey to 
Lake Ontario and published it in the second volume. As for 
the rest of the collection, it continued to repose for twenty- 
four years more in the lockers of the Society, its existence 
probably unknown to most of the members. A recent exam- 
ination discovered, besides the voluminous manuscripts of 
Judge van der Kemp, original letters written to him by John 
Adams, John Ouincy Adams, James Wadsworth, George 
Clinton, Cornelius Beekman, Philip Schuyler, John Jay, 
Tobias Lear — the private secretary of Washington — Aaron 
Burr, Robert B. Livingston, Josiah Ouincy, DeWitt Clinton 
— an interesting and long-continued correspondence — and a 
collection of fourteen letters from Thomas Jefferson, eleven 
of them in Jefferson's own handwriting ; and with them, also 
in Jefferson's penmanship, a copy of his famous Syllabus, 
originally communicated to Dr. Benjamin Rush of Phila- 

I have examined every available publication with a view 
to learning whether these letters have been printed. In 
"The Writings of Thomas Jefferson," edited by his son-in- 
law, Thomas Jefferson Randolph, only one of them appears. 
In the latest and fullest collection of Jefferson's writings. 
recently edited by Paul Leicester Ford, and published in 
ten volumes, I find but three, all credited to the Johnson 
MSS., for which collection they were apparently copied 
many years ago. As printed by Mr. Ford, these three con- 
tain numerous errors, are much abbreviated, and of one of 
them the year of its composition is wrongly given. A por- 
tion of one other letter, copied from the Buffalo Historical 
Society MSS., is used in a lately published biography of 
Jefferson's correspondent.* The calendar of Jefferson 
manuscripts in the Department of State at Washington enu- 

* "Francis Adrian van der Kemp, 1752-18^9. An autobiography, together 
with extracts from his correspondence." Edited by Helen Lincklaen Fairchild. 
New York, 1903. 


merates them all; but so far as I have been able to learn, 
eight of these letters have never been made public. 'The 
fourteen preserved by the Buffalo Historical Society are, 
with two exceptions, wholly in Jefferson's handwriting ; with 
one exception are all addressed to the same correspondent, 
and range in date from 1788 to Xov. 30, 1825, but a few 
months before the aged statesman laid down his pen. 

Before going further, let us make the acquaintance of 
this correspondent, with whom, through so long a period of 
years, Thomas Jefferson found it a pleasure to exchange 
views. He is well worth knowing. Indeed, it is not merely 
to the perusal of a few detached letters that the reader's 
attention is invited, but to an hour in the company of some 
rare spirits — an hour with Jefferson and his friends, all gen- 
tlemen of talent and scholarly attainments, who delighted to 
discuss together the latest new thing in scientific or philo- 
sophical research, or the ethics of life on the broadest Chris- 
tian basis. I cannot better introduce this correspondent than 
by quoting the following letter, originally written to the 
editor of the New York Statesman: 

Western Region, September, 1820. 
My Dear Sir: In one of my solitary walks with my 
gun on my shoulder and my dog by my side, I strayed eight 
or ten miles from my lodgings ; and as I was musing on the 
beauties of the country, and meditating on the various and 
picturesque scenes which were constantly unfolding, I was 
roused from my revery by voices which proceeded from per- 
sons at a short distance. In casting my eyes in that direction, 
I saw two venerable men with fishing rods in their hands 
angling for trout, in a copious and pellucid stream which 
rolled at their feet. I was hailed by them, and requested to 
approach, which I immediately did, and in exchanging salu- 
tations, I found that they were men of the world, perfectly 
acquainted with the courtesies of life. One of them held up 
a string of fine trout, and asked me in the most obliging 
manner to go home with them and partake of the fruits of 
their amusement. Struck with the appearance of the 
strangers, and anxious to avail myself of the pleasure of 
their company, I did not hesitate to accept of this hospitable 


offer, on condition that they would permit me to add the 
woodcock, snipe, and wood ducks, which were suspended 
from my gun, to their acquisitions. This offer was kindly 
accepted. A general and desultory conversation ensued, and 
we arrived in a short time at a small village, and on ascend- 
ing the steps of an elegant house I was congratulated by my 
new friends on my entry into Oldenbarneveld. In the course 
of an hour dinner was served up, I sat down and enjoyed a 
treat worthy to be compared to the Symposior of Plato. I 
soon found that these venerable friends were emigrants from 
Holland — that they were men of highly cultivated minds, 
and polished manners — and that they had selected their habi- 
tations in this place, where they enjoyed 

"An elegant sufficiency, content, 
Retirement, rural quiet, friendship, books, 
Ease and alternate labor, useful life, 
Progressive virtue and approving Heaven." 

The elder of these gentlemen had received the best educa- 
tion that Holland could afford. He was brought up a clergy- 
man, and at the commencement of the American Revolution, 
he became its enthusiastic and energetic advocate, and wrote 
an able work in vindication of its character and conduct. In 
the struggles which subsequently took place in his native 
country, he sided with the patriots. His friend held a high 
military office during that commotion, and unites the frank- 
ness of a soldier and the refinement of a gentleman with the 
erudition of a scholar. 

During their residence in this country, they have been 
attentive to its interests. As far back as 1795. the elder 
gentleman proposed an Agricultural Society for this district, 
and addressed it in a luminous speech. 

I was penetrated with the most profound respect, when I 
witnessed the various and extensive acquirements of this 
man. He is a perfect master of all the Greek and Roman 
authors — skilled in Hebrew, the Syriac, and the other ori- 
ental languages — with the German and French he is perfectly 
acquainted — His mind is a great store-house of knowledge : 
and I could perceive no deficiency, except in his not being 
perfectly acquainted with the modern discoveries in natural 


science, which arises in a great degree from his sequestered 
life. He manages an extensive correspondence with many 
learned men in Europe, as well as America. And although 
I had never heard of him before, yet I am happy to under- 
stand that his merits are justly appreciated by some of the 
first men in this country. 

He has lately been complimented with a degree of Doctor 
of Laws, by a celebrated university of New England. He is 
now employed by the State of New York in translating its 
Dutch Records — and through the munificence of David 
Parish, the great banker, he will be enabled to have tran- 
scripts of the records of the Dutch West India Company to 
fill up an important chasm in the history of this great state. 

Thus, my friend, I have made a great discovery. In a 
secluded, unassuming village, I have discovered the most 
learned man in America, cultivating, like our first parent, his 
beautiful and spacious garden with his own hands — cultivat- 
ing literature and science — cultivating the virtues which 
adorn the fireside and the altar — cultivating the esteem of the 
wise and the good — and blessing with the radiations of his 
illumined and highly gifted mind, all who enjoy his conversa- 
tion, and who are honored by his correspondence. 

This letter, published over the pseudonym of "Hiberni- 
cus," was written by DeWitt Clinton. In 1820, at 51 years of 
age, he was serving his first term as Governor. He had been 
in public life almost from early youth ; had served in both 
branches of the Legislature, and in the. United States Senate 
— the youngest man who had ever taken a seat in that body ; 
had been mayor of New York, and lieutenant-governor of the 
State ; an unsuccessful candidate for President of the United 
States, in 1812, against Madison; and from 1809 the zealous 
champion of the great canal. In the multiplicity and useful- 
ness of his public services, in his natural ardor of tempera- 
ment, and far-sighted devotion to the public good, one may 
find in DeWitt Clinton many resemblances to Theodore 
Roosevelt. In 1820 the completion of the canal was the 
passion of his life. In this tour, which he described under 
the pen-name of "Hibernicus," he had crossed the State. 
visiting Buffalo and Niagara Falls, and noting everywhere. 


both as a naturalist and a man of affairs, the phenomena and 
resources of the State. It was on his return from this West- 
ern journey, that at the little village of Olden Barneveld, not 
far from the then famous Trenton Falls, he encountered, 
perhaps in the delightful way he has described, this "most 
learned man in America." One says "perhaps" ; for it is 
certain that the acquaintance here described antedated this 
visit. Among the Clinton letters in the Buffalo Historical 
Society collection above mentioned are several of earlier date 
than this visit; "Hibernicus" was evidently taking an au- 
thor's liberty for literary effect. Two years later, in 1822, 
the letters of "Hibernicus" were published in book form.* 
Mr. Clinton sent a copy with his compliments to Thomas 
Jefferson, which the latter acknowledged in a pleasant letter. 
The "Letters of Hibernicus" have never been reprinted. 

This "most learned man in America," whom Clinton thus 
discovered in 1820, had been in correspondence with Jefferson 
since 1788. He was Francis Adrian van der Kemp, a Dutch 
clergyman, publicist and reformer, who was a refugee from 
his own country. Born in 1752, in 1766 he was a cadet in his 
father's regiment. After four years of study at Groningen, 
where he impaired his health by excessive and eccentric ap- 
plication, and after passing through a period of religious 
sturm und stress, he was admitted to preach in the Dutch 
Baptist church, his first parish being at Huyzen in Holland. 
I draw these and other facts following from his manuscript 
autobiography in the possession of the Buffalo Historical 
Society. He became the bosom friend of the Baron van der 
Capellen, a Dutch patriot of distinguished services. I cannot 
stay to enter upon this nobleman's career, but as the earliest 
letter of Thomas Jefferson in the collection which follows is 
addressed to him, some further delineation of his figure is 

Van der Capellen was prominent in Holland, during the 
years of our Revolution, as a sympathizer with the cause of 
the American patriots. When, in December, 1775 — six 
months before Jefferson and his associates had wrought out 

• "Letters on the Natural History and Internal Resources of the State of 
New York." By Hibernicus. New York: sold by E. Bliss & E. White, No. 
128 Broadway. 1822. i2mo. pp. 224. 


the Declaration of Independence — there arose in the Rid- 
derschap, the legislative body, of Overyssel, the great ques- 
tion of foreign policy, and of attitude towards England in her 
contest with the American colonies, van der Capellen deliv- 
ered a famous speech opposing the Government measure of 
the "lending of the Scotch Brigade to the King of England 
for service in America, as a mark of friendship."* It was 
van der Capellen who led the opposition to the demand, made 
in an autograph letter from King George to William V., for 
troops to be sent against the American colonies. He declared 
in an impassioned speech that whatever might be the ultimate 
fate of the American colonies he would always regard it as a 
glory and an honor openly to have espoused their cause, 
which he regarded as that of all human kind. When the 
Brigade was at last lent to the King, it was upon condition 
that it should not be used out of Europe. 

The Baron van der Capellen still further won the dis- 
pleasure of the Court by printing and circulating his pro- 
American speech, and for other forms of opposition. Van 
der Kemp, meanwhile, ardently sympathizing with the cause 
of the American colonies, had championed the rights of the 
people of the Netherlands in many a seditious speech, sermon 
and pamphlet. He resigned his pastorate and took up the 
sword. He underwent a long trial for his writings and was 
acquitted ; but his activity in the Patriot cause against the 
house of Orange resulted in the confiscation of his property. 
The climax came in his attempted defense of the city of Wyk, 
at the head of a small band of burghers. The city being 
invested by some 1500 Prussian troops, they had to open the 
gates and surrender. Van der Kemp was for a time detained 
in prison, but with his associates was promised his freedom 

* In the annals of hired mercenaries, this Scotch Brigade in the service of 
the Dutch is not without distinction. John Evelyn has recorded in his famous 
Diary, that on July 18, 1685, he "went to see the muster of the six Scotch and 
English regiments whom the Prince of Orange had lately sent to his Majesty 
out of Holland upon this rebellion, but which were now returning, there having 
been no occasion for their use." Those who know their Waverley will recall, 
in the story of "My Aunt Margaret's Mirror" ("Chronicles of the Canongate") 
the duel between Sir Philip Forester and Captain Falconer "of the Scotch 
Dutch, as they are called." This brigade of Scotch auxiliaries was in quarters 
at Rotterdam, at the period of the story. 


if they would indemnify the State for losses incurred, as it 
was officially termed, during their usurpation. Practically 
ruined, and thoroughly discouraged, van der Kemp resolved 
to find an asylum in the American colonies, the course of 
whose successful revolution he had watched with so much 

It was the 9th of December, 1787, when he was released 
from prison. Twelve days later, arrived at Antwerp, he 
wrote to John Adams, the Minister of the United States at 
the Court of St. James. Mr. Adams replied as follows : 

London, Jan. 6, 1788. 

Sir: As I had suffered much anxiety on your account 
during your Imprisonment, your Letter of the 29. of last 
month gave me some relief. I rejoiced to find that you was 
at liberty and out of danger. 

inclosed are two Letters, which I hope may be of Service 
to you. — living is now cheaper, than it has been, in America, 
and I doubt not you will succeed very well. — You will be 
upon your guard, among the Dutch People of New York, 
respecting religious Principles, untill you have prudently 
informed yourself of the State of Parties there. — if you 
should not find every Thing to your Wish in Xew York, I 
think in Pensilvania, you cannot fail. But Xew York is 
the best Place to go to, at first. I wish you a pleasant 
Voyage, and am sir your most 

obedient servant 

John Adams. 
The Rev"d Mr. Vanderkemp. 

This friendly letter was the beginning of a correspon- 
dence that lasted until the death of Adams. 

Through the Baron van der Capellen the good offices of 
Jefferson, then our Minister to France, were solicited. 
Jefferson, temporarily away from his post, replied as fol- 
lows : 

Rotterdam Mar 8, 1788 

It was not in my power to write the letter for Mr. Van 
der Kemp the evening before I left Paris : and it is not till I 
arrive here that I have found one moment of leisure, not 


knowing in what state of our Union he may chuse to settle I 
am not able to know to what persons he may be usefully & 
directly addressed. I give him therefore a letter to Mr. 
Madison, my most particular friend, now a member of Con- 
gress at New York. Whenever M. van der Kemp shall have 
made up his mind as to his settlement in America, Mr. 
Madison will be able to give & to procure for him the best 
introductory letters possible, his influence will be zealouslv 
used & omnipotent in it's effect. I am happy, while serving 
a worthy man, to have the additional gratification of doing 
what is pleasing to you, & to assure you of those sentiments 
of respect & attachment with which I have the honor to be, 
Sir, your most obedient & most humble servant 

Th : Jefferson. 
Baron de Capellen. 

Mrs. van der Kemp, who with her children had left 
Holland with passports made out for her security in her 
maiden name of Vos, had looked after the removal of such 
of their furniture and books as it was possible to take to 
America. She joined her husband in Antwerp in March, 
1788, in which month they sailed from Havre, reaching New 
York in May. Letters of introduction to eminent Americans 
secured for him a courteous and cordial reception in distin- 
guished society, but did not go far towards establishing him 
in a way of living. After a visit at Alt. Vernon, and some 
weeks of travel and visiting, he bought a farm near Kingston 
in Ulster Co., New York. He was naturalized in 1789. and 
in 1792 made a journey to Lake Ontario, the narrative of 
which, from his original manuscript, was first published by 
the Buffalo Historical Society, as above mentioned. 

During the first years of his American residence Mr. van 
der Kemp made some effort to recover his lost property in 
Holland. He appealed to President Washington; in reply 
he received the following letter from Thomas Jefferson : 

New York, 31st March, 1790. 
Sir: The letter has been duly received which you ad- 
dressed to the President of the United States, praying his 
Interference with the Government of the United Nether- 


lands, on the Subject of Property you left there on your 
coming to America. I have it in charge to inform you that 
the United States have at present no Minister at the Hague, 
and consequently no channel through which they could 
express their concern for your Interests. However willing 
too we are to receive and protect all persons who come hither 
with the Property they bring, perhaps it may be doubted 
how far it would be expedient to engage ourselves for that 
they leave behind, or for any other Matter retrospective to 
their becoming Citizens. In the present Instance we hope 
that no Confiscation of the Residuum of your Property left 
in the United Netherlands having taken place, the Justice of 
that Government will leave you no occasion for that Inter- 
ference which you have been pleased to ask from this. 
I have the honor to be 


Your most obedient 

& most lrble servt 

Th: Jefferson* 
Mr. Vanderkemp. 

The years that followed were full of struggle with the 
unaccustomed conditions of a hew country, to which Mr. van 
der Kemp brought complete devotion, but little of the re- 
sourcefulness and conquering spirit of the typical pioneer. 
In 1794 he settled on the banks of Oneida Lake ; was made 
an assistant justice of the peace — whence his subsequent 
title of "Judge" — and organized an Agricultural Society for 
the Western District of New York. In 1797 he removed to 
Olden Barneveld — later Trenton, in Oneida County, but 
recently renamed Barneveld. Here he built him a modest 
house, still standing; made a precarious existence for his 
family by gardening, but finding his chief pleasure in his 
books, in the constant application of his pen. and in a vol- 
uminous correspondence with John Adams. Thomas Jeffer- 
son and other statesmen and philosophers of his day. Here 
too he enjoyed the association of Col. Adam Gerard Mappa, 
a Dutch patriot who had been exiled from Delft, and who. 
coming to America, became agent for the Holland Land 
Company. At Olden Barneveld Col. Mappa built a fine 


stone mansion in which he passed his last years. The house 
is still standing, an excellent example of domestic architec- 
ture of the Georgian period. * It was undoubtedly Col. 
Mappa who was Judge van der Kemp's companion on the 
fishing tour when De Witt Clinton met them, as described 
in his letter, above printed. 

It was during the years that followed, from 1816 to 1825, 
that there passed between this sequestered Dutch savant and 
the Sage of Monticello the correspondence which follows — 
a correspondence which, as stated above, appears to be for 
the most part unpublished. Their earlier letters, at least on 
Jefferson's part, had been chiefly of a formal and official 
character ; but their minds had a natural kinship in their 
fondness for philosophical speculation. Van der Kemp, 
among his numerous literary undertakings, projected or 
accomplished, had proposed to write a history of Christi- 
anity, or a life of Christ. Jefferson, to whom was sometimes 
attributed a most unorthodox breadth of view, especially for 
his espousal of some of the principles of Thomas Paine, had 
expressed great interest in this work, and had sent to Judge 
van der Kemp a copy of his Syllabus. The Syllabus itself is 
to be found in the published collections of Jefferson's writ- 
ings. In the collection under notice is contained Jefferson's 
own manuscript copy, and also a copy, in his writing, of the 
following letter, which Jefferson originally sent with the 
Syllabus to Dr. Benjamin Rush of Philadelphia : 

Apr, 21, 1803 
Dear Sir: In some of the delightful conversations 
with you in the evenings of 1798-99, the Christian religion 
was sometimes our topic ; and I then promised you that one 
day or other I would give you my views of it. they are the 
result of a life of enquiry and reflection, and very different 
from that Anti-Christian system imputed to me by those who 
know nothing of my opinions, to the corruptions of Chris- 
tianity I am indeed opposed, but not to the genuine precepts 
of Jesus himself. I am a Christian, in the only sense in 
which he wished anyone to be ; sincerely attached to his 
doctrines, in preference to all others, ascribing to himself 

* Now owned by Mr. William S. Wicks of Buffalo. 


every human excellence, & believing he never claimed any 
other, at the intervals since these conversations, when I 
could justifiably abstract myself from other affairs, this 
subject has been under my contemplation: but the more I 
considered it, the more it expanded beyond the measure of 
either my time or information, in the moment of setting out 
on a late journey, I received from Dr. Priestly* his little 
treatise of "Socrates & Jesus compared." this being a sec- 
tion of the general view I had taken of the field, it became a 
subject of reflection, while on the road, and unoccupied 
otherwise, the result was, to arrange in my mind a Syllabus, 
or Outline of such an Estimate of the comparative merits of 
Christianity as I wished to see executed by someone of more 
leisure and information for the task, than myself, this I 
now send you, as the only discharge of my promise I 
can probably ever execute, and in confiding it to you, I 
know it will not be exposed to the malignant perversions of 
those who make, of every word on the subject of religion, a 
text for misrepresentations and calumnies. I am moreover 
averse to the communication of my religious tenets to the 
public; because it would countenance the presumption of 
those who have endeavored to draw them before that tri- 
bunal, & to seduce public opinion to erect itself into that 
inquisition over the rights of conscience, which the laws 
have so justly proscribed, it behoves every man who values 
liberty of conscience for himself, to resist invasions of it in 
the case of others, it behoves him. too. in his own case, to 
give no example of concession, betraying the common right 
of independent opinion, by answering questions of faith, 
which the laws have left between god and himself. 

This letter, like those that follow, exhibits some of Mr. 
Jefferson's peculiarities as a letter writer. He often — it 
would seem, usually — began his sentences with a small letter. 
He sometimes used forms of spelling not now accepted ; his 
penmanship, often minute and delicately precise, was always 

* Joseph Priestley, scientist and independent churchman. The treatise al- 
luded to by Jefferson is perhaps an early draft of what appeared in 1S04. the 
year of Priestley's death, with the title, "The Doctrines of Heathen Philosophy 
compared with those of Revelation." 



as legible as was the thought clear and definite; while his 
concluding phrases were an example in high degree of an 
epistolary courtesy then in vogue, but now, alas, largely 
gone out of use. 

The Syllabus, which occasioned much of the correspon- 
dence between Jefferson and Judge van der Kemp, and is 
perhaps essential to an understanding of the letters, is here 
printed from Mr. Jefferson's own manuscript, the peculiari- 
ties of the original, in spelling and arrangement, being pre- 
served as far as possible : 

Syllabus of an Estimate of the doctrines of Jesus com- 
pared with those of others. In a comparative view of the 
ethics of the enlightened nations of antiquity, of the Jews, & 
of Jesus, no notice should be taken of the corruptions of 
reason among the antients, to wit, the idolatry & superstition 
of their vulgar, nor of the corruptions of Christianity by the 
over-learned among its professors. Let a just view be taken 
of the moral principles inculcated by the most esteemed of 
the sects of antient philosophy or of their individuals ; par- 
ticularly Pythagoras, Socrates, Epicurus, Cicero, Epictetus, 
Seneca, Antoninus. 

I. Philosophers. I. Their precepts related chiefly to our- 
selves, & the government of those passions which, unre- 
strained, would disturb our tranquility of mind.* in 
this branch of philosophy they were really great. 

2. In developing our duty to others they were short 
and defective. They embraced indeed the circles of 
kindred and friends, & inculcated patriotism or the love 
of our country in the aggregate, as a primary obliga- 
tion : towards our neighbors & countrymen they taught 
justice, but scarcely viewed them as within the circle of 

* To explain, I will exhibit the heads of Seneca's & Cicero's philosophical 
works, the most extensive of any we have received from the antients. of 10 
heads in Seneca, 7 relate to ourselves, towit, deira, Consolatio, de tranquilitate, 
de constantia sapientis, de otio sapientis, de vita beata, de brevitate vitae. 2 re- 
late to others, de dementia, de beneficiis, and 1 relates to the government of the 
world, de providentia. of 11 tracts of Cicero, 5 respect ourselves, viz. de 
finibus, Tusculanes, Academica, Paradoxa, de Senectute. 1 de officiis partly to 
ourselves, partly to others. 1 de amicitia relates to others, and 4 are on dif- 
ferent subjects, to wit, de natura, de orum, de divinatione, de fato, and 
Somnium Scipionis. [Note by Jefferson.] 



benevolence: still less have they inculcated peace, 
charity & love to all our fellow men, or embraced with 
benevolence the whole family of mankind. 

II. Jews. I. their system was deism, that is, the belief in 
one only god. but their ideas of him & of his attributes 
were degrading & injurious. 

2. their ethics were not only imperfect, but often 
irreconcilable with the sound dictates of reason & 
morality, as they respect intercourse with those around 
us. and repulsive & anti-social, as respecting other 
nations, they needed reformation therefore in an emi- 
nent degree. 

III. Jesus. In this state of things among the Jews, Jesus 
appeared, his parentage was obscure; his condition 
poor ; his education null ; his natural endowments 
great ; his life correct & innocent ; he was meek, benev- 
olent, patient, firm, disinterested and of the sublimest 

The disadvantages under which his doctrines appear are 

• i. like Socrates & Epictetus, he wrote nothing 
himself ; 

2. but he had not, like them, a Xenophon or Arrian 
to write for him. on the contrary, all the learned of his 
country, entrenched in it's power & riches, were opposed 
to him, lest his labors should undermine their ad- 
vantages ; 

and the committing to writing his life and doctrines, 
fell on the most unlettered & ignorant of men ; who 
wrote too from memory, and not till long after the 
transactions had passed. 

3. according to the ordinary fate of those who 
attempt to enlighten & reform mankind, he fell an early 
victim to that jealousy & combination of the altar & the 
throne at about 33 years of age ; his reason having not 
yet attained the maximum of it's energy; 

nor the course of his preaching, which was but of about 
3 years, presented occasions of developing a com pleat 
system of moral duties. 




4. hence the doctrines which he really delivered 
were defective as a whole. 

and fragments only of what he did deliver have come to 
us, mutilated, mistated, & often unintelligible. 

5. they have been still more disfigured by the cor- 
ruptions of schismatising followers, who have found 
an interest in sophisticating & perverting the simple 
doctrines he taught by engrafting on them the mysti- 
cisms of a Graecian Sophist, frittering them into subtle- 
ties, & obscuring them with jargon, until they have 
caused good men to reject the whole in disgust, & to 
view Jesus himself as an impostor. 

Notwithstanding these disadvantages, a system of 
morals is presented to us which if filled up in the true 
style & spirit of the rich fragments he left us, would be 
the most perfect and sublime that has ever been taught 
by man. 
The question of his being a member of the godhead, or in 
direct communication with it, claimed for him by some 
of his followers and denied by others is foreign to the 
present view, which is merely an estimate of the intrin- 
sic merit of his doctrines. 

1. He corrected the Deism of the Jews, confirming 
them in their belief of one only god, and giving them 
juster notions of his attributes and government. 

2. His moral doctrines, relating to kindred & 
friends were more pure & perfect than those of the most 
correct of the philosophers, and greatly more so than 
those of the Jews. 

and they went far beyond both in inculcating universal 

not only to kindred & friends, to neighbors & country- 
men, but 

to all mankind, gathering all into one family, under the 
bonds of love, charity, peace, common wants, & com- 
mon aids, a development of this head will evince the 
peculiar superiority of the system of Jesus over all 


3. The precepts of philosophy, and of the Hebrew 
code, laid hold of actions only. 

he pushed his scrutinies into the heart of man ; erected 
his tribunal in the region of his thoughts ; 
and purified the waters at the fountain head. 

4. He taught emphatically the doctrine of a future 
state which was doubted or disbelieved by the Jews ; 
and wielded it with efficacy, as an important incentive 
supplementory to the other motives to moral conduct. 

This estimate of the doctrines of Jesus was formulated, 
it will be noticed, during Jefferson's first term as President — 
in the year, it so happens, when he accomplished the pur- 
chase of Louisiana from Napoleon. It was thirteen years 
later, when he had finished his public career and was living 
in retirement at Monticello, that he communicated it to 
Judge van der Kemp, apparently in compliance with a re- 
quest, with the following letter : 

Poplar Forest near Lynchburg Apr. 25, '16. 
Sir: Your favor of Mar. 24 was handed to me just as I 
was setting out on a journey of time and distance, which 
will explain the date of this both as to time and place. The 
Syllabus, which is the subject of your letter, was addressed 
to a friend to whom I had promised a more detailed view, 
but finding I should never have time for that, I sent him 
what I thought should be the outlines of such a work, the 
same subject entering sometimes into the correspondence 
between Mr. Adams and myself, I sent him a copy of it. 
The friend to whom it had been first addressed dying socn 
after, I asked from his family the return of the original as a 
confidential communication, which they kindly sent me. so 
that no copy of it but that in possession of Mr. Adams, now 
exists out of my own hands. I have used this caution, lest 
it should get out in connection with my name ; as I was un- 
willing- to draw on mvself a swarm of insects, whose buz is 
more disquieting than their bite, as an abstract thing and 
without any intimation from what quarter derived I can 
have no objection to it's being committed to the considera- 
tion of the world. I believe it may even do good by pro- 


during discussion and finally a true view of the merits of 
this great reformer, persuing the same idea after writing 
the Syllabus I made, for my own satisfaction, an Extract 
from the Evangelists of the texts of his morals, selecting., 
those only whose style and spirit proved them genuine, and 
his own ; and they are as distinguishable from the matter in 
which they are imbedded as diamonds in dunghills, a more 
precious morsel of ethics was never seen, it was too hastily 
done, however, being the work of one or two evenings only, 
while I lived at Washington, overwhelmed with other busi- 
ness; and it is my intention to go over it again at more 
leisure, this shall be the work of the ensuing winter. I gave 
it the title of "the Philosophy of Jesus extracted from the 
text of the Evangelists." to this Sylabus and Extract, if a 
history of his life can be added, written with the same view 
of the subject, the world will see. after the fogs shall be dis- 
pelled, in which for 14 centuries he has been enveloped by 
Jugglers to make money of him, when the genuine character 
shall be exhibited, which they have dressed up in the rags oi 
an Imposter, the world, I say. will at length see the immortal 
merit of this first of human Sages. I rejoice that you think 
of undertaking this work, it is one I have long wished to see 
written on the scale of a Laertius or a Xepos. nor can it be a 
work of labor, or of volume, for his journeyings from Judea 
to Samaria, and Samaria to Galilee, do not cover much coun- 
try ; and the incidents of his life require little research. 
they are all at hand, and need only to be put into human 
dress ; noticing such only as are within the physical laws of 
nature, and offending none by a denial, or even a mention, 
of what is not. If the Syllabus and Extract (which is 
short) either in substance, or at large, are worth a place 
under the same cover with your biography, they are at your 
service. I ask one only condition, that no possibility shall 
be admitted of my name being even intimated with the pub- 
lication, if done in England, as you seem to contemplate, 
there will be less likelihood of my being thought oi. I shall 
be much gratified to learn that you pursue your intention of 
writing the life of Jesus, and pray to accept the assurances 
of my great respect and esteem. -p H . j EFFTK sox. 


Mr. van der Kemp appears to have lost no time in send- 
ing a copy — happily, not the original which Jefferson had 
confided to him — to a London editor; for it was published, 
October, 1816, in the Monthly Repository of Theology and 
General Literature. He seems to have informed Mr. Jef- 
ferson of the disposition made of it, for a few weeks later 
he received the following letter : 

MONTICELLO July 30. 1 6. 

Dear Sir: Your favor of July 14 is received, and I am 
entirely satisfied with the disposition you have made of the 
Syllabus, keeping my name unconnected with it, as I am 
sure you have done. I shall really be gratified to see a fuQ 
and fair examination of the ground it takes. I believe it to 
be the only ground on which reason and truth can take theii 
stand, and that only against which we are told the gates of 
hell shall not finally prevail, yet I have little expectation 
that the affirmative can be freely maintained in England. 
we know it could not here, for altho' we have freedom of 
religious opinion by law, we are yet under the inquisition of 
public opinion : and in England it would have both law and 
public opinion to encounter, the love of peace, and a want 
of either time or taste for these disquisitions induce silence 
on my part as to the contents of this paper, and all explana- 
tions & discussions which might arise out of it ; and this 
must be my apology for observing the same silence on the 
questions of your letter. I leave the thing to the evidence of 
the books on which it claims to be founded, and with which 
I am persuaded you are more familiar than myself. Altho' 
I rarely waste time in reading on theological subjects, as 
mangled by our Pseudo-Christians, yet I can readily suppose 
Basanistos may be amusing, ridicule is the only weapon 
which can be used against unintelligible propositions, ideas 
must be distinct before reason can act upon them ; and no 
man ever had a distinct idea of the trinity, it is the mere 
Abracadabra of the mountebanks calling themselves the 
priests of Jesus, if it could be understood it would not an- 
swer their purpose, their security is in their faculty of 
shedding darkness, like the scuttle-fish, thro' the element in 
which thev move, and making it impenetrable to the eye of a 


pursuing enemy, and there they will skulk, until some ra- 
tional creed can occupy the void which the obliteration of 
their duperies would leave in the minds of our honest and 
unsuspecting brethren, whenever this shall take place, I be- 
lieve that Christianism may be universal & eternal. I salute 
you with great esteem and respect. 

Th : Jefferson. 
Mr. Vaxderkemp. 

It is evident that at this time Judge van der Kemp con- 
templated a great work on Christian philosophy, stimulated, 
no doubt, by Jefferson's interest and sympathetic sugges- 
tions. A few months later this message came to Olden 
Barneveld : 

Poplar Forest near Lynchburg Nov. 24. 16. 

Dear Sir : I receive your favor of Nov. 1 at this place 
at which I make occasionally a temporary residence ; and I 
have perused with great satisfaction the magnificent skeleton 
you inclose me of what would indeed be a compleat Encyclo- 
pedia of Christian philosophy, it's execution would require 
a Newton in physics a Locke in metaphysics, and one who 
to a possession of all history, adds a judgment and candor 
to estimate it's evidence and credibility in proportion to the 
character of facts it presents, and he should have a long life 
before him. I fear we shall not see this canvas filled in our 
day, and that we must be contented to have all this light 
blaze upon us when the curtain shall be removed which lim- 
its our mortal sight. I had however persuaded myself to 
hope that we should have from your own pen, one branch of 
this great work, the mortal biography of Jesus, this can- 
didly and rationally written, without any regard to sectarian 
dogmas, would reconcile to his character a weighty multi- 
tude who do not properly estimate it, and would lay the 
foundation of a genuine Christianity. 

You ask if I have ever published anything but the Notes 
on Virginia? nothing but official State papers, except a 
pamphlet at the commencement of our difference with Eng- 
land & on that subject and another at the close of the revo- 
lution proposing the introduction of our decimal money, of 


neither of which do I possess a copy. — Should a curiosity to 
see our part of the union tempt your friend Dr. Willoughby 
to come as far as Monticello, I shall be very happy to receive 
him there and to shew my respect for his worth as well as 
for your recommendation of it. Accept the assurance of 
my great esteem and consideration. 

Th : Jefferson. 
Mr. Vanderkemp. 

Some report evidently reached Mr. Jefferson which made 
him fearful lest his identity as author of the Syllabus should 
become known. It stirred him to write in a vein far less 
placid than was his wont : 

Monticello, Mar. 16. 17. 

Dear Sir : I learn with real concern that the editor of 
the Theological Repository possesses the name of the author 
of the Syllabus, altho' he coyly witholds it for the present 
he will need but a little coaxing to give it out and to let loose 
upon him the genus irritabile vatum, there and here, be it 
so. I shall receive with folded arms all their hacking & 
hewing. I shall not ask their passport to a country which 
they claim indeed as theirs, but which was made, I trust, for 
moral man, and not for dogmatising venal jugglers. Should 
they however, instead of abuse, appeal to the tribunal of 
reason and fact, I shall really be glad to see on what point 
they will begin their attack, for it expressly excludes all 
question of supernatural character or endowment. I am in 
hopes it may find advocates as well as opposers, and produce 
for us a temperate & full developement. as to myself, I 
shall be a silent auditor. 

Mr. Adams's book on Feudal law, mentioned in your 
letter of Feb. 2. I possessed, and it is now in the library at 
Washington which I ceded to Congress, in the same letter 
you ask if I can explain the phrase "il est digne de porter le 
ruban gris de lin." . I do not know that I can. gris de lin is 
the French designation of the colour which the English call 
grizzle, the ruban gris de lin may be the badge of some asso- 
ciation, unknown, I acknolege, to me but to which the author 
from which you quote it may have some allusion. I shall be 


happy to learn that you pursue your purpose as to the life 
of the great reformer, and more so in seeing it accomplished. 
I return the Repository with thanks for the opportunity of 
seeing it, and I pray you to accept my friendly and respect- 
ful salutations. 

Th : Jefferson. 

Mr. Jefferson appears to have been reassured without 
delay, for in May of that year he wrote to Judge van der 
Kemp as follows : 

Monticello, May i. 17. 

Dear Sir : I thank you for your letter of Mar. 30. my 
mind is entirely relieved by your assurance that my name did 
not cross the Atlantic in connection with the Syllabus, the 
suggestion then of the Editor of the Theological Repository 
was like those of our newspaper editors who pretend they 
know everything, but in discretion will not tell us, while we 
see that they give us all they know and a great deal more. I 
am now at the age of quietism, and wish not to be kicked by 
the asses of hierophantism. I hope you will find time to take 
up this subject, there are some new publications in Ger- 
many which would greatly aid it. to wit, 

Augustus translation & Commentary on the 7. Catholic 
epistles, in which he has thrown great light on the opinions 
of the primitive Christians & on the innovations of St. Paul 
printed at Lemgo 1808. in 2. vols. 8vo. 

Palmer's Paul and Gamaliel. Giessen 1806. 

Munter's history of dogmas. Gottengen 1806. showing 
the formation of the dogmatical system of Christianity. 

Augusti's Manual of the history of Christian dogmas. 
Leipsic 1805. 

Marheinacke's Manual of Ecclesiastical history. Er- 
langen 1806. developing the simple ideas of the first Chris- 
tians, and the causes & progress of the subsequent changes. 

I have not written for these books, because I suppose 
they are in German which I do not read ; but I expect thev 
are profoundly learned on their subjects. 

In answer to your enquiries respecting Rienzi. the best 
account I have met with of this poor counterfeit of the 
Gracchi, who seems to have had enthusiasm & eloquence, 


without either wisdom or firmness, is in the 5th & 6th vols. 
of Sigismondi. he quotes for his authority chiefly the 
Frammenti di Storia Romana d'anonimo contemporaneo. of 
the monk Borselaro I know nothing-, and my books are all 
gone to where they will be more useful, & my memory wan- 
ing under the hand of time. — I think Bekker might have 
demanded a truce from his antagonists, on the question of a 
hell, by desiring them first to fix it's geography, but when- 
ever it be, it is certainly the best patrimony of the church, 
and procures them in exchange the solid acres of this world. 
I salute you with entire esteem and respect. 

Th: Jefferson.* 

A brief note of slight consequence — save that it illus- 
trates Mr. Jefferson's studied courtesy in small things — fol- 
lows : 

Th: Jefferson asks the favor of Mr. Venderkemp to 
make his thanks acceptable, if occasion should offer to the 
worthy lady miss Halshoff who has been so kind as through 
him to send him her interesting Republican Manuel, it is 
replete with the soundest principles of human independence, 
and I commiserate her sufferings in so holy a cause, gloomy 
however as is the present appearance of it's depression, it 
will rise again, and the information and spirit excited in 
Europe will persevere until governments shall be established 
in it's various countries in which the people will have a rep- 
resentative & controuling branch, he salutes Mr. Vander- 
kemp with constant esteem & respect. 

Moxticello Dec. 25, 17. 

The next letter in the collection follows : 

Monticello Feb. 9. 18. 

Dear Sir: Your favor of Jan. 7. has been some time 
at hand, age, which lethargises all our movements, makes 
me a slow correspondent also, and revolts me strongly from 
the labors of the writing table, reading when I can be in- 
dulged in it, is the elysium of my present life. 

You suppose I may possess essays and scraps, on various 

* This and the preceding letter are given by Ford, X., pp. 77. 7S, but with 
some errors, as shown by comparison with the Jefferson MSS. 


subjects committed to paper, and lying buried in my desk. 
No, sir, I have nothing of the sort, my life has been one of 
unremitting labor, and that in a line entirely foreign to the 
sciences, it was my lot to be cast into being at the period of 
the commencement of a political convulsion, which has con- 
tinued since to agitate the whole civilized globe, that com- 
mencement was in my own country, and under circum- 
stances which placed in a state of requisition all the energies 
of the body and mind of every citizen, it's necessities 
dragged me from a life of retirement and contemplation, to 
which my natural propensities strongly inclined, to one of 
action and contention, and in the field of politics from which 
I was most averse, in this I have never had leisure to turn 
to right or left, to indulge for a moment in speculative medi- 
tations, much less to commit them to writing. 

I return you the paper on incestuous marriages, in which 
you have proved beyond question that neither under the 
Mosaic, nor natural law is a man forbidden to take in second 
marriage the sister of his first, early in our revolution the 
legislature of Virginia thought it necessary that their code 
of laws should be revised, and made homogeneous with 
their new situation, this task was committed to mr. Wythe, 
mr. Pendleton and myself, among others, the law regu- 
lating marriages came under consideration, we thought it 
most orthodox and correct to copy into our bill the very 
words of the Levitical law. after continuing in force for 
some years, the permission to marry a wife's sister was 
thought to produce in practice jealousies and heartburnings 
in families, and even temptations to crime ; and it was there- 
fore repealed, not as in itself intrinsic guilt, but inexpedient 
as leading to guilt, this depends much on the family habits 
and intercourse of each country. 

Not having replaced my set of the Philosophical trans- 
actions, I am not able to turn to the paper from which you 
quote the words 'the movements of nature are in a never- 
ending circle' etc. but I suppose they were in that which I 
wrote on the discovery of the bones of the Megalonyx. this 
animal was pronounced to be extinct, but I thought it might 
be doubted whether any particular species of animals or 


vegetables, which ever did exist, has ceased to exist, this 
doubt is suggested by the consideration that if one species of 
organized matter might become extinct, so might also a 2d. 
a 3d. and so on to the last: and thus all organized bodies 
might disappear, and the earth be left without life or intel- 
lect, for the habitation of which it is so peculiarly prepared. 
a particular species of unorganized matter might disappear 
for a while, and be restored by the fortuitous concourse & 
and combination of the elements which compose it, but or- 
ganized being cannot be restored by accidental aggregation 
of it's elements, it is reproduced only by it's seed, against 
it's loss therefore nature has made ample provision, by a 
profusion of seed, some of which, however inauspiciously 
scattered, may be sure to take effect, thus, the tree produces 
a seed, and the seed reproduces a tree, a bird produces an 
egg, and the egg a bird, an animal or vegetable body, after 
thus reproducing more or fewer individuals of it's own 
species, perishes, is decomposed, and it's particles of matter 
pass into other forms, not one is lost or left unimployed. 
the Universe is now made up of exactly the same particles 
of matter, not a single one more or less, which it had in it's 
original creation, so sung truly the poetical disciple of 
Pythagoras : 

'Xec perit in tanto quicquam (mihi crede) mundo.' 

this is the never-ending circle in which I observed that 
animal and vegetable natures are circulated and secured 
against failure thro' indefinite time. 

Extending our views to the heavenly bodies, we know 
that certain movements of theirs, heretofore deemed anoma- 
lous and erratic, have been considered as indications of dis- 
order, affecting the equilibrium of the powers of impulse 
and attraction which restrain them in their orbits, and 
threatening consequently their crush & destruction in time, 
yet De la Place has now demonstrated that these supposed 
irregularities are strictly in obedience to the general laws of 
motion, that they are periodical and secular : and that these 
members of the Universe also may continue moving in their 
orbits thro' indefinite time, yet I have not seen- this demon- 
stration of a possibility condemned by orthodoxy either of 


religion or philosophy, it's only result is that if a time is to 
be when these bodies shall be brought to an end, it will not 
be from any defect in the laws of their continuance, but by 
another 'Sta Sol' of the Creator, by an arrest of their motion 
from the hand which first impressed it. nor indeed do I 
know that a belief in the eternity of the world is against the 
sound doctrines of the Christian faith, the eternity of two 
beings is not more incomprehensible to us than that of one. 
the eternity of the Universe, & that of the being who regu- 
lates it's order, preserves it's course, and superintends the 
action of all it's parts, may stand together, as well as either 
of them alone, and the most eminent divines have consid- 
ered this coeternity as not inconsistent with the relation of 
the two beings as Cause and effect, where effect is produced 
by motion of parts, there they admit there must be priority & 
posteriority, but where effect is the result of will alone, they 
are simultaneous and coeval, and they maintain that the 
Creator must have willed the creation of the world from all 
eternity, the words of St. Thomas Aquinas are 'Constat 
quod quicquid Deus nunc vult quod sit, ab aeterno voluit 
quod sit. — et necessarium videtur quod ab aeterno creaturam 
in esse produxerit.' again 'quod enim primo dicitur, agens 
[erasure in original] de necessitate pnecedere effectum qui 
per suam operationem sit, verum est in his que agunt aliquid 
per motum; quia effectus non est nisi irt termino motus ; 
agens autem necesse est esse etiam cum motus incipit. in 
his autem [erasure in original] quae in instanti agunt hoc 

non est necesse.' 'deus ab aeterno fuit jam omnipotens, 

sicut cum produxit mundum ; ab aeterno potuit producere 
mundum : consequentia certissima est, et antecedens veris- 

simum.' 'si mundus non potuisset ab aeterno esse, ex eo 

foret, quia non possunt esse in unico instanti simul causa et 

effectus, producens et productum. sed hoc falsum est. 

potuit ergo, cum causa aeterna effectus coaeternus esse.' 
The sentiment you quote however neither necessarily in- 
volves this course of Cosmogony, nor does it imply any 
principle of the pantheism which you apprehend it might 

I have said so much on this subject that I am afraid you 



will imagine I have been defending an opinion, not at all. 
it is a doubt only which I have been vindicating from the 
charge of puerility imputed to it by a writer,* whose greater 
ripeness of judgment was offended by the doubt, for it was 
expressed merely as a doubt whether any race of animals 
which ever did exist, has ceased to exist? for example the 
Sphynx, Cyclops, Centaur, Satyr, Faun, Mermaid, dragon, 
Phoenix? Cuvier indeed has proved to us by anatomising 
their remains, that several animals have existed, now un- 
known to us. but then follows the 26. inquiry, is it known 
that they are extinct ? have all parts of the earth been suf- 
ficiently explored to authorize a confident assertion? e. g. 
the interior parts of N. & S. America, the interior of Africa, 
the polar regions Arctic & Antarctic, the Austrasian divi- 
sion of the earth, for we are no longer to talk of it's quarters ? 
of this latter division, a small portion of it's margin only has 
been explored : and yet what singular and unknown animals 
have been found there ! had a skeleton of one of these floated 
to our shores half a century ago, it would have been enrolled 
in the catalogue of 'species extinct.' 

I think therefore still, there is reason to doubt whether 
any species of animal has become extinct ; that this does not 
involve as a necessary consequence the eternity of the world ; 
and, if it did, that we are authorised by the fathers of our 
faith to say there would be nothing unlawful in this conse- 
quence, and I have quoted the authorities of Theologians, 
rather than of Philosophers, because the former consider' 
these as their natural enemies, for these quotations I am 
indebted to M. D'Argens. 

You ask whether I have seen Cuviers essai sur la theorie 
de la terre, or Brieslau's introduction a la geologie ? I have 
seen neither : and in truth I am disposed to place all these 
hypothetical theories of the earth in a line with Ovid's 

'Ante mare et terras et quod legit omnia coelum 

Unus erat toto naturae vultus in orbe, 

Quern dixere Chaos; nidis indigestaque moles.' 

for all their theories require the original hand of a Creator : 

& if his intervention is necessary, why should we suppose 

* Dr. B . ISo in original MS.~] 


him to throw together a rude and indigested mass of matter, 
and leave it in chaos, unfinished, for millions of years, to 
work it's own way by mechanical fusions and aggregations, 
and by chemical affinities and fermentations into mineral 
forms, and animal and vegetable life? could not he, with 
the same ease, have created the earth at once, in all the per- 
fection in which it now exists ? and were the Genesis of the 
earth by Moses tradition, not revelation, instead of employ- 
ing the Creator in detail thro' six days of labor, in one of 
which he says 'let there be light and there was light,' it 
would have better filled our ideas of his exalted power and 
wisdom, to have summed the whole in the single fiat of 'Let 
the world be, and it was.' 

I am afraid that a letter, extended to such inordinate 
length, will make you doubt the truth with which it began, 
that I am averse to the labors of the writing-table, yet it is 
a real truth, but my subject sometimes runs away with me, 
without controul or discretion, until my reader as well as my- 
self, is ready to welcome with gladness the valedictory assur- 
ance of my great esteem and respect. 

Th : Jefferson. 

The letter which follows, like the last, contains a good 
deal of self-revelation. At the date of its composition 
Jefferson had passed his 77th birthday. The inevitable 
weariness of age shows itself in his correspondence. He 
was still devoted to the promotion of the university which he 
had founded; was still faithful in letter-writing to his 
friends ; but as the reader doubtless knows, his last years 
were burdened by financial loss and embarrassment, and care 
was his companion to the end : 

MONTICELLO July 9. 20. 

Dear Sir: Your favor of June 25 is just now received, 
and I learn from it with much regret that too industrious an 
use of your eyes has seriously affected them, rest, during 
the visit you contemplate to Montezillo* may perhaps re- 
store them. I envy you that visit, or rather lament that I 
have not wings to participate in it. I owe my friend there a 

* Residence of John Adams, Quincy, Mass. 


letter or two, not for want of inclination to pay the debt, but 
from a stiffening wrist, the consequence of an antient dislo- 
cation, which renders writing slow and painful, our fathers 
taught us 'never to put off to tomorrow what can be done 
today.' but this disorganization of the writing hand is lead- 
ing me to an inversion of the maxim, by never writing today 
what can be put off to tomorrow. Your conjecture that the 
scrutoires of M. Adams and myself may contain useful 
things is probably half true. Mr. Adams's I hope does ; 
but mine I assure you does not. my life has been one of 
meer business, the duties of the various offices in which I 
have acted, have employed my whole time too fully, to admit 
any collateral pursuit, the transactions of these offices have 
indeed been embodied chiefly in the letters they required me 
to write, but to look for anything valuable in that pile, 
would be seeking a needle in a haystack. 

I trust with you that the genuine and simple religion of 
Jesus will one day be restored : such as it was preached and 
practiced by himself, very soon after his death it became 
muffled up in mysteries, and has been ever since kept in con- 
cealment from the vulgar eye. to penetrate and dissipate 
these clouds of darkness, the general mind must be strength- 
ened by education, enlightened by its torch the disciples of 
religion will see that, instead of abandoning their reason, as 
the superstitions of every country requires, and taking for 
the will of their god whatever their own hierophants declare 
it to be (and no two of them declaring it alike) that god has 
confided to them the talent of reason, not to hide under a 
bushel, but to render him account of it's employment. I hope 
that day of restoration is to come, altho' I shall not live to 
see it, and to my prayers that it may come soon, I add those 
for your health and happiness. Th . j EFFERS0N 

The note which follows, and the letter dated Xew York, 
31st March. 1790, are the only ones in the collection not 
wholly in Jefferson's handwriting: 

MONTICELLO, Aug. 3. 23. 

Dear Sir: Your kind letter of May 26. has laid too 
long by me awaiting an answer, the truth is that the dirfi- 


culty of writing has obliged me even when in better health 
to withdraw much from correspondence, and now an illness 
of some weeks, from which I am just recovering, obliges 
me to use a borrowed pen to acknowledge it's receipt, and 
indeed that is all I can do even now, my mind being entirely 
abstracted from all the business of the world political, liter- 
ary, worldly or of whatever other form, my debility is 
extreme, permitting me to ride a little, but to walk scarcely 
at all. I am equal only to the passive occupation of reading. 
in this state of body and mind I can only assure my friends 
that I shall ever recollect with affection the pleasures their 
correspondence has afforded me, and shall pray without 
ceasing for their health, happiness & prosperity, among 
these I pray you to be assured that I entertain for yourself 
distinguished sentiments of esteem & high respect. 

Th : Jefferson 

Nearly six months later, evidently under the influence of 
improved health, Jefferson sent the following characteristic 
epistle to Judge van der Kemp : 

Monticello Jan. ii, 24. 

Dear Sir : Your favor of Dec. 28. is duly received, it 
gladdens me with the information that you continue to enjoy 
health, this is a principal mitigation of the evils of age. I 
wish that the situation of our friend Mr. Adams was equally 
comfortable, but what I learn of his physical condition is 
truly deplorable, his mind however continues strong and 
firm, his memory sound his hearing perfect, and his spirits 
good, but both he and myself are at that term of life when 
there is nothing before us to produce anxiety for it's continu- 
ance. I am sorry for the occasion of expressing my condo- 
lance on the loss mentioned in your letter, the solitude in 
which we are left by the death of our friends is one of the 
great evils of protracted life, when I look back to the days 
of my youth it is like looking over a field of battle, all, all 
dead ! and ourselves left alone amidst a generation whom 
we know not, and who know not us. 

I thank vou beforehand for the book of your friend P. 


Vreede of which you have been so kind as to bespeak a copv 
for me. — on the subject of my porte-feuille be assured it 
contains nothing but copies of my letters, in these I have 
sometimes indulged myself in reflections on the things which 
have been passing, some of them, like that to the Quaker 
to which your letter refers, may give a moment's amusement 
to a reader, and from the voluminous mass, when I am dead, 
a selection may perhaps be made, of a view which may have 
interest enough to bear a single reading, mine has been too 
much a life of action to allow my mind to wander from the 
occurrences pressing on it. 

I have been lately reading a most extraordinary book, 
that of M. Flourens on the functions of the nervous system, 
in vertebrated animals, he proves by too many, and too ac- 
curate experiments, to admit contradiction, that from such 
animals the whole contents of the cerebrum may be taken 
out, leaving the cerebellum and the rest of the system unin- 
jured, and the animal continue to live, in perfect health, an 
indefinite period, he mentions particularly a case of 10^2 
months survivance of a pullet, in that state the animal is 
deprived of every sense of perception, intelligence, memory 
and thought of every degree, it will perish on a heap of corn 
unless you cram it down it's throat, it retains the power of 
motion, but feeling no motive it never moves unless from 
external excitement, he demonstrates in fact that the cere- 
brum is the organ of thought, & possesses alone the faculty 
of thinking, this is a terrible tub thrown out to the Atha- 
nasians. they must tell us whether the soul remains in the 
body in this state, deprived of the power of thought 7 or 
does it leave the body, as in death? and where does it go? 
can it be received into heaven while it's body is living on 
earth? these and a multitude of other questions it will be 
incumbent on them to answer otherwise than by the dogma 
that everyone who believeth not with them, without doubt 
shall perish everlastingly, the Materialist, fortified by these 
new proofs of his own creed, will hear with derision these 
Athanasian denunciations, it will not be very long before 
vou and I shall know the truth of all this, and in the mean 


time I pray for the continuance of your health, contentment 
and comfort. 

Th: Jefferson* 

The last letter in the collection, written but seven months 
before its author's death, is in the same neat, precise and 
legible penmanship always characteristic of Jefferson. To 
the end he adhered to certain epistolary eccentricities : 

MONTICELLO, Nov. 30. 25. 

Dear Sir: Your favor of the 16th is just received, and 
your silence in it on the subject of your health makes me 
hope it is good, a dozen years older than you are, I have no 
right to expect as good. I have now been confined to the 
house 6 months, but latterly get better, insomuch as, for a 
few days past, to ride a little on horseback. I duly received 
the favor of Mr. Vreede's book, & meant, in my first letter to 
you, to request you to return my thanks for it, to him. but 
this has been delayed by indisposition. I cannot however 
promise, what you seem to wish, to read it with sufficient 
attention to pass a judgment on it. although my eye-sight is 
so good as not to use glasses by day, either for reading or 
writing, yet constant occupation in the concerns of univer- 
sity permits me to read very little ; and that of commercial 
science was never a favorite reading with me. the classics 
are my first delight, and I unwillingly lay tihem by for the 
productions of the day. Such a work as Flourens indeed 
commands a preference. I have lost my copy, by lending it, 
or I should have given you the reading of it with pleasure. 

Our University, now the main business of my life, is 
going on with all the success I could expect, the Professors 
we obtained from England are of the highest order of science 
in their lines, and of excellent private characters, indeed we 
have been most fortunate in that selection, our term for the 
1st year is near closing, at the opening of the 2d, which will 
be on the 1st of February, we shall have more students 
offering than we shall be able to accommodate, the pro- 

* Ford gives this letter (X., p. 336) but has the date 1825. Though plainly 
addressed, on the outside of the folded sheet, to "Olden Barneveld, near Tren- 
ton, N. Y.," this letter as are two or three of the others, is marked "Missent to 
Trenton, N. J." They all bear Mr. Jefferson's frank. 


vision made for them does not go beyond 250. or 260. we 
shall enlarge it as fast as we can. but Rome was not built 
in a day. the institution is on the most liberal plan, and very 
little expensive. Hoping you may continue to enjoy good 
health, and a life of satisfaction, as long as you think life 
satisfactory at all, I pray you to be assured of my affectionate 
good wishes & great esteem and respect. 

Th : Jefferson 

Mr. Jefferson's interest in science, and the philosophical 
habit of his mind, to both of which these letters bear witness, 
are facts familiar to all students of his career. His view of 
Christ, and his opinions of Christianity in its various aspects, 
are nowhere else set forth more clearly or explicitly than in 
this correspondence now for the first time given to the public. 

Of Judge van der Kemp, so lately has his autobiography 
been edited and published, it will suffice here to note that he 
survived Mr. Jefferson some three years, and died on Sept. 
7, 1829. His services rendered to history, in the translation 
of the Dutch Records of Colonial New York, will perhaps be 
better appreciated in days to come. The translation which 
he made is yet for the most part unpublished, but is acces- 
sible to all students of the subject, in the manuscripts office 
of the State Library at Albany. 

Note. The van der Kemp manuscripts owned by the Buffalo Historical 
Society include the following: 

1. His autobiography, addressed to his son J. J. van der Kemp of Philadel- 

phia, 1817. It has been edited and published with other material un- 
der the title "Francis Adrian van der Kemp," &c, by Helen Linck- 
laen Fairchild, New York, 1903. 

2. Address on the occasion of Judge van der Kemp's death, by Rev. T. B. 

Peirce, Sept. io, 1829; and funeral sermon, Sept. 20, 1829. Un- 

3. Tour from the Hudson to Lake* Ontario in 1792. Published, Buffalo 

Historical Society Publications, vol. II., 1880. 

4. A Dutch Symposium. Unpublished. 

5. Memoir on the use of Copper by the Greeks. Unpublished. 

6. Researches on Buffon's and Jefferson's Theories in Natural History. 

About 300 closely written pages. Unpublished. 

7. Miscellaneous autograph letters to Judge van der Kemp, mostly unpub- 


8. Eleven letters from DeWitt Clinton. Unpublished. 

9. Letters from Thomas Jefferson, now first published. 
10. Diplomas and commissions. 






1838 AND 1839. 


33 -^V 



1 ^-i^ORI 

Henry A. S. Dearborn, the author of the following journals, was 
the son of Major-General Henry Dearborn of Revolutionary fame, 
who also served with distinction in the War of 1812; it was he who 
captured York, now Toronto, in the spring of 1813, and Fort George 
on the Niagara. His career, as a soldier and as Secretary of War, is 
so well known to students of American history, and so fully set forth 
in many books, that further details here would be superfluous. The 
son, Henry Alexander Scamwell Dearborn, is also far from unknown 
in his country's annals. Born at Exeter, N. H., March 3, 1783, he 
graduated from William and Mary College in 1803, studied law un- 
der William Wirt, and had practiced that profession for some years 
when, in 1812, he succeeded his father as Collector of the Port of 
Boston, and as brigadier-general of militia commanding the defences 
of the harbor. He was with his father for a time on the Niagara 
frontier during the War of 1812; interesting allusions to those 
visits will be found in the journals which follow. In 1829 President 
Jackson removed him from the Boston collectorship. In the same 
year he was elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives ; 
he was a member of the Governor's Council in 1830, and of the State 
Senate in 1831, in which year he was electtd to Congress, serving as 
a Representative from Massachusetts until March, 1833. He was 
adjutant-general of Massachusetts, 1835-1843, when he was dismissed 
from office for having lent the State arms, during the Governor's 
absence, to the government of Rhode Island, the Dorr Rebellion 
being then in progress. In the years that followed Gen. Dearborn 
held many civic and other public offices. He was one of the origina- 



tors, of the plan for building Bunker Hill monument ; was superin- 
tendent of a state survey for a canal from Boston to the Hudson 
River, and when that project was killed by the construction of the 
Great Western Railroad, he turned his attention to railroad interests, 
and was among the first to advocate the tunneling of Hoosac moun- 
tain. He was one of the originators of the plan for laying out Mount 
Auburn and Forest Hills cemeteries — the latter at his home city of 
Roxbury, Mass., of which he was mayor from 1847 till his death, 
July 29, 185 1. 

Gen. Dearborn was a voluminous writer, and although he pub- 
lished a number of works, he left behind several others in manu- 
script, including a "Life of Jesus Christ," "Life of Commodore 
Bainbridge," "Life of W. R. Lee, U. S. A.," a treatise on Grecian 
architecture, and other studies. His published works include: 
"Commerce of the Black Sea," with charts (3 vols., 1819) ; "History 
of Navigation and Naval Architecture" (2 vols.) ; "Defense of 
General Dearborn against the Attacks of General Hull"; "Internal 
Improvements and Commerce of the West," a series of letters, 
mostly written from Buffalo in the summer and fall of 1838 (Boston, 
1 &Z9) ; and, besides numerous addresses and pamphlets, a "Sketch 
of the Life of the Apostle Eliot" (Roxbury, 1850) ; it was Gen. 
Dearborn who was chiefly instrumental in raising the monument to 
this devoted missionary to the Indians. 

In the summer of 1838 Gen. Dearborn came to Buffalo as the 
Superintendent of Massachusetts — such was his official title — to be 
present at negotiations with the Seneca and Tuscarora Indians, hav- 
ing in view their removal from their Western New York reserva- 
tions to lands in Kansas. The history of that transaction is too long 
and involved to set forth fully, here; and indeed such a recital is un- 
necessary, for the main facts are matter of abundant record; per- 
haps most clearly and concisely presented in the "Report of the 
Special Committee appointed by the Assembly of 1888 to investigate 
the Indian Problem of the State." (Albany, 1889.) The treatv at 
Buffalo Creek, Jan. 15, 1838, provided among other things for the 
conveyance by the Senecas to Ogden & Fellows, of the entire Buffalo 
Creek, Tonawanda, Cattaraugus and Alleghany reservations, for 
$202,000. The Tuscaroras were to receive $3,000, and the President 
was to sell the land which they owned in fee, to Ogden & Fellows, 
as owners of the "preemptive right." The Senate made many 
amendments before ratifying this treaty, and added the important 
provision that it should be of no binding effect until it as amended 
should "be submitted and fully and fairly explained by a commis- 
sioner of the United States to each of such tribes or bands, separately 


assembled in council, and they have given their full and voluntary- 
assent thereto." It was this amended treaty that was submitted to 
the Senecas in council in August, 1838. The United States commis- 
sioner was Ransom H. Gillett. Massachusetts was interested because 
of that curious and troublesome agreement between that common- 
wealth and New York, in 1786, by which Massachusetts ceded to 
New York the "government, sovereignty and jurisdiction" over the 
disputed territory which is now Western New York, and New York 
ceded to Massachusetts "the right of preemption of the soil of the 
native Indians and all other estate except of sovereignty and juris- 
diction." It was this agreement which made Massachusetts a parry 
to all negotiations with the Western New York Indians. 

Commissioner Gillett, with Gen. Dearborn in behalf of Massachu- 
setts, submitted the amended treaty to the Senecas, and it is Gen. 
Dearborn's journal of the events that then ensued, which in the fol- 
lowing pages is now for the first time published. The effort was to 
obtain the signatures of a majority of the chiefs. Sixteen signed in 
council, and after the adjournment 15 more signed in different 
places; the irregularity of the proceedings giving rise to charges of 
bribery. In October Gen. Dearborn returned to Massachusetts, but 
was at once sent back to Buffalo to procure more signatures, enough 
to constitute a majority, though what that number should be was 
not easy to determine. The council did not reconvene, but the signa- 
tures of ten more chiefs were secured, 41 in all, the total number of 
chiefs being placed by the commissioner in his report at 81. Presi- 
dent Van Buren sent the treaty to the Senate in January, 1840, with 
the statement in his accompanying message, that he believed im- 
proper means had been employed to procure the Senecas' signatures. 
However, the Senate ratified it and the President proclaimed it. 

Then began a new agitation, on the part of the Senecas; the 
Quakers were especially active, with reports and memorials. Gov. 
Everett of Massachusetts and a committee of the General Assembly 
of that state, expressed the opinion that improper means had been 
brought to bear to procure the assent of the Senecas to the treaty. 
Finally, acting on the advice of Daniel Webster, the Society of 
Friends, through the Secretary of War, the Hon. John C. Spencer, 
brought about what is known as the compromise treaty of Buffalo 
Creek, concluded May 20, 1842, when the Ogden Company released 
and handed back to the Senecas the whole of the Alleghany reserva- 
tion and the Cattaraugus reservation, and the Senecas gave up the 
whole of the Buffalo Creek and Tonawanda reservations, the Ogden 
Company retaining the preemptive right in both tracts then sur- 
rendered by the Indians. 



There can be no doubt that improper means were used, to obtain 
the assents of the Seneca chiefs, in the councils of 1838; but there is 
no question as to the uprightness and sincerity of Gen. Dearborn. 
As his journal repeatedly shows, he was thoroughly convinced that 
the only salvation of the Indian lay in his removal to the West. The 
journal graphically records the violent scenes which marked the ne- 
gotiations. The council house on the Buffalo reservation was burned, 
supposedly by Indians opposed to the removal. The animated de- 
bates between the advocates for and against emigration, developed 
into scenes of riot and violence, so that appeal was made to the 
military to preserve peace. It is an important chapter in the early 
history of Buffalo, the story of which has remained until now for the 
most part untold. Gen. Dearborn's observations on the condition of 
Buffalo in 1838, his predictions of the great city which would grow 
up on the Niagara frontier, his feeling allusions to his father, and 
their presence on the frontier during the War of 1812; even the 
Indian traditions which he wrote down from the narration of Cone 
the young Tonawanda, all combine to give interest and historic 
value to the journal which he kept, but which has lain unpublished 
until now. 

In 1877 the State of New York purchased at a public sale a num- 
ber of the manuscripts of Gen. Dearborn, including several volumes 
of his correspondence, and his journals. They are now preserved in 
the manuscripts department of the State Library at Albany. The 
journals now made public are for the most part printed according to 
the orthography of the original. A few of the crude pen sketches 
which adorn the manuscript are given; others, of no historic signifi- 
cance, being omitted. F. H. S. 



I was appointed on the 6th of July 1838, as Superintend- 
ent of Massachusetts, to attend councils of the Seneca & 
Tuscarora Indians, in the State of New York, in conformity 
to Articles of agreement between Massachusetts & N. York, 
which were entered into at Hartford, in Connecticut on 
the 16th. of Dec r 1786. The conventions were to be held, to 
complete a treaty, made last winter, by the U. S. for the re- 
moval of all the Indians, in the state of N. York, west of the 
state of Missouri, & for the sale of the reservations at Alle- 
ghany, Cattaraugus, Buffalo Creek & Tonnawanda to 
Ogden & Fellows, — the grantees of the preemptive right of 

I kept the following journal.* 

H. A. S. Dearborn, 
Hawthorn Cottage Octo 15, 1838. 

Memorandum of a Journey to the Niagara Frontier, 
for the purpose of negociating treaties with 
The Seneca & Tuscarora tribes of Indians. 

August 2. I left my house in Roxburv at half past two 
for Boston & took a seat in the Rail-Road Cars for Stoning- 

* Volume One of the manuscript journals here printed has for title-page the 
following: "Journal of an Expedition to the Seneca and Tuscarora Indians, 
made by H. A. S. Dearborn as Superintendent of Massachusetts, In the Months 
of Sepr. and October. 1838." The second manuscript volume, of the same 
journal continued, has for title: "Journal of a Mission to the Seneca and Tus- 
carora Indians, and an Account of the Treaties held with those Tribes, in the 
years 1838 and 1839, for the sale of their Lands and for their Emigration West 
of the Mississippi River, by H. A. S. Dearborn, Superintendent of Massachu- 
setts. Vol. II." 


ton at y 2 past 3, where I arrived at half past 7, having trav- 
eled yS miles in four hours. The Steam Boat being ready 
we pushed off immediately for New York & reached that 
city at seven in the morning. 

August 3. Left New York in a steamboat for Albany 
at half past seven & arrived at seven in the evening. In 
passing up the Hudson several portions of the Croton Aque- 
duct, for supplying the city of New York with water, were 
visible, where the men were engaged in the construction of 
that magnificent & truly Roman work. Four thousand 
laborers, I was informed, were engaged in the excavations & 

August 4. I met Thomas Ludlow Ogden Esq. of New 
York, one of the grantees of the preemptive right to the 
lands of the Seneca & Tuscarora tribes of Indians, which 
belonged to Massachusetts, & we left Albany in the railroad 
cars for Utica 9 o'clock & arrived there at 3 in the afternoon, 
where we dined. The route was very interesting & beauti- 
ful. On the opposite bank of the Mohawk river runs the 
Erie Canal, & between the railroad & the left bank of the 
river is the turnpike road, thus presenting at one view four 
lines of communication, with a width of a few rods, in the 
rich & luxuriant valley of that picturesque river. The far- 
mers were in the midst of their wheat- harvest. At 4 we took 
passage in a Canal Boat for Syracuse, where we arrived at 
6 the next morning. The canal has not a single lock in that- 
long level of 60 miles. The night ^vas warm, the sky clear 
[with a] constant change of scenery, from cultivated fields & 
primeval forests. We saw several little camps of Oneida 
Indians, during the evening where fires were kindled, for 
their evening repast. They are employed in cutting wood 
for the salt works at Syracuse. I heard the Whip-poor-will, 
for the first time during many years. The canal packet boat 
is very comfortable & I like much that mode of conveyance. 
We went on at the rate of about 4 to five miles an hour. 

August 5. Left Syracuse, at 8 o'clock, in a car drawn 
by two horses, on the rail road for Auburn. Syracuse is a 
flourishing town, & the salt works are rapidly increasing. 
Coal however must soon be substituted, for fuel as wood 


will be scarce, as the farms are multiplied & improved. They 
will be able to obtain coal from a mine, about being wrought 
in the northern borders of Pennsylvania, & which can be 
brought by a railroad, to the waters communicating with 
Seneca Lake & down that lake to the Erie Canal. There is 
also a valuable deposit of iron ore near the coal mine, which 
will ultimately furnish a vast quantity of cast & malleable 
iron, for this region of country. 

Arived at Auburn in two hours. The most beautiful 
town on the route. Proceeded in a stage to Geneva on the 
west bank of Seneca Lake where we dined & got to Cana- 
dagua [Canandaigua] at seven. 

August 6. I have passed a distance 630 miles in three 
days & 3 hours, & slept comfortably each night. Gad ! what 
wonders has steam produced & what still greater are yet to 
be developed, — nous verons. Mr. Gillet the U. S. Commis- 
sioner to hold treaties with the Xew York Indians came 
from Buffalo & arrived this morning & informed me the 
council with the Senecas would not be held before the 1 6th. 
I dined with Mr. Gregg, who resides in Canadagua. He 
has a magnificent House, which cost 60,000 dollars, — a well 
arranged garden, green house & small park, in which there 
are a buck, three does & two fawns. He has 40 acres of 
land connected with his seat. Mr. Granger has a superb 
house, & there are many handsome dwellings in the town. 

August 7. Mr. Fellows, one of the preemptive owners 
of the Indian land, arrived from Geneva last night. He is 
the agent for the family of Sir William Pultney, who bought 
a large tract of the grantees of the preemptive right of Mass. 
We left for Avon at nine, where we dined & passed the 
night. There are mineral springs in this town, which are 
beginning to be much frequented. We visited the principal 
one, which flows in sufficient quantity to carry a small water 
wheel for pumping the water into boilers & cisterns for the 
bathing house. They are impregnated with lime, soda, mag- 
nesia & iron. Saw Com r Creighton at Avon, he having 
been there some weeks & had been nearly cured of the rheu- 
matism, from bathing in & drinking the water. 

August 8. Went on to Mr. Wadsworth's in Geneseo. 


He has a tract of bottom land of 1,200 acres which is per- 
fectly level, & of the richest quality, the soil being alluvial & 
at least 16 feet deep. There are groves, clumps of trees & 
single trees, including all those common to this state, scat- 
tered over it in just sufficient numbers to give the whole a 
park-like & picturesque appearance. They cover about 200 
acres, but under them there is no under wood, & the whole is 
either in grass or under cultivation, with wheat, corn & 
potatoes. The river makes a detour of nine miles & ap- 
proaches within one at the narrowest point. Thus : 

The house is on the declivity of the river bank which 
rises at least 150 feet & from the piazza the whole tract is 
visible, & a vast region of country beyond & up & down the 
river. Mr. Wadsworth has 500 head of cattle which are for 
beef, 2,500 sheep & a dairy of 80 cows, in which is made 
daily a cheese of from 100 to 150 pounds. The cheese is sold 
chiefly at the farm at 10 cents per pound for the supply of 
the neighboring towns as far as Rochester. 

James Wadsworth, son of the above named gentleman, 
has a farm of 1,500 acres a mile or two below & a new & 
magnificent house. We visited the Portage falls of the 
Genesee river on the 10th. ' They are 22 miles above Mr. 
Wadsworth's house. There are three within two miles, the 
1st 70 feet, 2d 96 & 3d 75 feet perpendicular fall. The banks 
of the river are perpendicular & consist of horizontal strata 
of lime, slate & sandstone ; they are over 200 feet high in 
many parts of the gorge. The whole descent in 3 mites is 
between 400 & 500 feet. 


Mr. Wadsworth & his brother with six hired men & a 
black woman as cook moved to Geneseo in 1791.* They 
brought a waggon & three yoke of oxen. When they got to 
Utica, the late General Wadsworth, went on with the team 
& men by an Indian trail, cutting down trees, making 
bridges, and crossing the streams on rafts, while the present 
Mr. Wadsworth had a boat made & descended Wood creek 
to Oneda [Oneida] lake, then the Oswego river to Lake 
Ontario & coasted the lake to the north of the Genesee, with 
their principal effects. After transporting them above the 
falls at Rochester, they were transported in a boat to their 
new home. They found three Indian bands in the vicinity & 
one on their land. At that time there was no white man 
lived west of Utica & at that place there was only one family 
in a log hut. for seven years there were no settlers nearer 
than Geneva & it was 12 before the tide of emigration 
reached the Genesee river valley. 

They found a man by the name of Jonest living with the 
Indians on their land. He was made a prisoner by the 
Seneca Indians in 1777, within 75 miles of Philadelphia. He 
was a prisoner until the peace of 1783, & having been 
adopted by the tribe was made a chief. He married a girl 
who had been captured by whom he had three sons, & one 

* It was in the spring of 1790 that the Wadsworth brothers, James and 
William, came into the Genesee country as above described; they "located" on 
the present site of Geneseo, June 10, 1790. 

t For the history of this "man by the name of Jones," i. e., Capt. Horatio 
Jones, see Buffalo Historical Society Publications, Vol. VI., pp. 381-514. His 
first wife, Sarah Whitmore, died in June, 1792. In the summer of 1795 he 
married Elizabeth Starr. It was apparently in the three years' interim between 
these dates that he took an Indian consort, by whom he had a son, William, 
whose name frequently occurs in the early history of Buffalo. He lived on the 
Buffalo Creek reservation, and it is probably his house that is shown in a wood- 
cut in Stone's "Life of Red Jacket," as standing near Red Jacket's log cabin, 
and described as "residence of Jones, the interpreter." He was son-in-law to 
the wife of Red Jacket. Adequate data of Horatio Jones's Indian family are 
lacking. One of his descendants by his first wife, now Mrs. C. B. Gunn of 
Leavenworth, Kas., writes to the editor of, this volume: "The descendants [by 
the Indian woman] have been very worthy. One girl, Lucy N. Jones of Pipe- 
stone, Minn., has written me some very readable letters. She is a great-grand- 
daughter of Horatio Jones, as well as of Mary Jemison, the 'White Woman.' . . 
She is a graduate of Hampton and Haskell institutes. She is a teacher at 
Pipestone agency." 


of them a wealthy farmer opposite Geneseo, is attending 
this Council with Mr. James Wadsworth. When his mother 
died, his father had an Indian wife, or mistress rather, by 
whom he had one son, who is now a chief & in the council. 
By a third wife, who was white, he had 12 children & died 
three years since a wealthy & highly respectable farmer & 
large land proprietor. Two of his sons by his first wife were 
killed in the battles of Chippawa & Lundy's Lane. 

A canal is constructing up the valley of the Genesee river 
to the waters of the Allegheny river, thus opening a water 
communication from Rochester to Pittsburg. How magnif- 
icent are the internal improvements of this state, which have 
been made an are [ ? era] in progress. 

Wheat is $1.25 per bushel; from 15 to 30 bushels are 
raised this year to the acre. 

August 11. I found Professors Renwick* & the Reved 
Doct. McVicon, of Columbia College at Mr. Wadsworth's. 
The former was on a mineralogical exploration for a com- 
pany of gentlemen in New York, to find bituminous lime- 
stone, like that recently employed in France & England, 
which came from Switzerland, to make asphaltic pavements, 
roofs of houses, cisterns, &c. &c. He had discovered the 
material in great abundance on a stream about 20 miles 
southeast from Geneseo, & I saw himmelt it, by the addition 
of about 20 per cent, of bitumen or Jew's pitch. This lime- 
stone when fractured swells often & the lime stone near Mr: 
Wadsworth's house is also impregnated with bitumen. This 
may be an important discovery to the country. 

I left Mr. Wadsworth's hospitable mansion this morning 
in company with Professor Renwick, for Batavia. We 
passed through a luxuriant wheat country. A thunder 
shower in the afternoon. There is a railroad from Batavia 

* James Renwick, a prominent scientist of his day, born in Liverpool in 
1790, died in New York Jan. 12, 1863. He came with his parents to this country 
in 1794; graduated at Columbia College, and was an instructor there in natural 
philosophy when the War of 181 2 began. He became a topographical engineer. 
with rank as major. From 1820 to 1853 he was professor of chemistry and 
physics at Columbia. In 1840 he was one of the commissioners to survey the 
boundary line between the United States and New Brunswick. He was the 
author of numerous works, among them a life of DeWitt Clinton. 


to Lockport & from thence to Buffalo, & there is one to be 
made from Batavia to Buffalo.* 

August 12. We left at half past ten for Buffalo in the 
stage, the road horribly bad to within eleven miles of the 
city when an excellent McAdamized pavement rendered the 
night delightful. What a grand & imposing sight, does the 
city & Lake Erie present from the highland which slopes 
down to the shore of that American Caspean. The harbor 
thronged with ships, brigs, schooners, steam & Coal Boats. 
We entered Buffalo at seven. 

August 13. I went with Professor Ren wick in the rail- 
road cars. How changed the condition of the country, since 
I was here in July, 1813. Then there was no road to the 
falls save a track for teams & that generally impassable. I 
was obliged to go down to Fort Schlosser in a Batteau & 
now there is a steamboat running daily, a canal to Tona- 
wanda, thronged with boats, a railroad & good county road. 
Then there were only about 30 houses in Buffalo, which 
were burnt down by the British the following winter & now 
there is a beautiful city containing at least 16,000 inhab- 
itants, with many superb private [and] public edifices.! 

* The first railroad in Erie County was a horse-car line, Buffalo to Black 
Rock, three miles, opened in 1834. The first steam railroad, Buffalo to Niagara 
Falls, was opened on Aug. 26, 1836, from Buffalo to Tonawanda, and to Niagara 
Falls, Nov. 5th of that year. At the date of Gen. Dearborn's visit several rail- 
road projects were in the air, but it was not until Jan. 8, 1843, that the next line 
to be built, Buffalo to Attica, was opened. This was subsequently operated in 
connection with other lines afterwards merged in the New York Central. The 
first direct railroad from Buffalo to Batavia was opened in 1850. 

The Buffalo Commercial Advertiser of Aug. 28, 1838, said: "Tonawanda 
Railroad. — We are pleased to learn that increased facilities for the fall business 
are contemplated for this excellent road. Another splendid new locomotive, 
with greatly increased power, is to be added, making three in all; with several 
new passenger cars, on an improved plan, combining comfort, convenience, and 
greater safety against accident. The arrangements making will enable the 
company to carry across the road, on short notice, five hundred passengers in 
one train of cars! Thirty new freight cars are also to be added, which will 
ensure the speedy transmission of merchandise and produce. The road is now 
in first-rate order, allowing the cars to run through with speed not surpassed 
perhaps by any in the country. It is worthy of remark that during the eighteen 
months the road has been in operation, in which time some 50,000 passengers 
have been carried over it, not a single one has been injured by accident. The 
engineer department is filled, as we are assured, by the most able engineers, 
sober, careful and experienced men. Under such management, the public will be 
well served." 

tin 1835 Buffalo's population was 15,661; in 1840, 18,234. 


We went on to Goat Island & after examining all the re- 
markable views on the American shore, I crossed after din- 
ner to the Canadian bank, in a small row boat, just below 
the Cataract. Went to the Pavilion Hotel, wrote a note to 
Col. Booth, commanding the troops at this position, & asked 
at what hour I might do myself the honor of waiting on 
him. He sent for me immediately. I informed him I was 
very anxious to see a parade of British troops, but regretted 
to hear that they did not turn out either that evening or the 
next morning. He said I should be gratified, for he would 
order a parade at any hour I might name the next morning. 
Half past 6 was agreed on & the celebrated 43d Regiment & 
a demi-Battalion of Artillery were drawn up, for review, & 
the Col. desired I should receive the salutes. He then car- 
ried them through the manual & performed many ma- 
noeuvres. They acquitted themselves admirably. 

The uniform coat of the 43d. Infantry is lined in front 
with white woolen webbing & the skirts turned up with 
white, white fringe wings, white cuffs & white buttons. 
Caps black felt of this form : ~ with a brass 

plate in front & blue pom- ^ V v 7 P ° n ^ a ^ 

above the cap, & brass scale f*r i xTr * ^c=/ c o v e r e d 
straps to confine it under the \~/ chin. Ser- 

geants, having herring bone lace on the 

upper arm of the coat. Sash, white & crimson, tucking 3 
inches wide round the waist with crimson tassels which hang 
down on the left thigh in front with a bow knot. Scabbard 
& Cartridge box, black leather with white belts. White 
pantaloons, & shoes that lace in front. Artillery : Blue coats 
with yellow lace, Pantaloons blue with a broad red welt on 
the out side. 

Memorandum made at Niagara Falls, August 14, 1838: 

1. Doct S. Says that the falls have receded, in nine 
years considerably. 

2. The exact positions of the cataracts have been ascer- 
tained, by a trigonometrical survey, so that the gradual 
change or destruction of any portion can be known, with 
great exactness, at any time in future. 

3. An officer of the British navy has made acurate 


hydrographical Surveys of the lakes which are being pub- 
lished in England. 

N. B. The Doct S. above referred to is Surgeon Genl. of 
the British troops in Canada, who I saw but forget his name. 

The upper strata of the falls are hard compact limestone, 
but the lower are of an argillaceous and sandy formation 
which easily crumbles & decomposes by the action of the 
falling water & continually tumbling down leaves the upper 
strata hanging over the abyss, until at last the whole falls 
down & thus the cataracts are constantly receding. 

There are about 50 houses & other edifices scattered along 
the Canada shore opposite the falls & a village of some 30 
more houses about half a mile from the falls, called Drum- 
mondsville or Lundy's Lane. 

The 43d Regiment & a demi-Bat' n - of light artillery are 
stationed at a camp directly opposite Goat Island, on the 
bank of the Niagara. Col. Booth commands. He was with 
Wellington in Spain & Portugal, France & Belgium & has 
been 35 years in the 43d. Regt. He is a tall well made & 
elegant officer. 

After breakfast I visited the battle ground of Lundy's 
Lane, & then rode down to that of Chippawa, which is two 
miles south of the river & village of that name. Chippawa 
is in a state of decadence. There was [not] a single vessel 
or boat, or any appearance of business. I continued my ride 
up the bank of the Niagara to Waterloo, opposite Black 
Rock. The land is excellent, being a level plain about 12 
feet above the water from Chippawa to the lake, but the 
houses are miserable & the whole appearance of the country 
indicates poverty, & want of enterprize. Crossed the river & 
took the horse power rail-road track to Buffalo. 

Soon after my arrival, Genl. Potter called on me & 
stated that Genl. Gillet had returned from the Oneida tribe 
& went down to Niagara falls last evening where he learned 
I had gone & intended to go with me to hold a Council with 
the Tuscarora Indians. I took a seat in the cars at five bat 
owing to the Locomotive having been thrown from the track 
the day before horses were used & the load of passengers & 
baggage being great I did not reach the falls until nearly ten, 


when I learned that Mr. Gillet had concluded the business 
with the Tuscaroras & they had that day signed the treatv. 
I was very tired having but [been] up and in constant motion 
from 5 in the morning until 10 at night & besides much 
walking had rode 50 miles in that time. I was lulled to 
sleep by the roar of the mighty Cataract. 

August 15. Mr. Gillet accompanied me to the Tuscarora 
settlement & I visited the principal chiefs to ascertain 
whether the Indians were generally satisfied with the sale of 
their land & the treaty for emigrating west of the Missippi. 
They assured me that there were not over a dozen indians 
who were opposed to the sale & treaty. 

We went back to the falls & dined & at three oclock took 
the rail-road car for Schlosser, where we embarked in the 
Steamer Red Jacket for Buffalo where we arrived at seven. 

August 16. Remained in Buffalo. 

August 17. I went out to Aliens tavern on the Seneca 
Reservation of Buffalo Creek distant six miles & met the 
Chiefs in Council at twelve oclock, but as those from the 
Alleghany Reservation had not arrived it was concluded best 
to adjourn to Monday the 20th. A temporary Council 
House had been erected by Judge Stryker the Indian Agent, 
as those of the indians were small, distant & inconvenient. 

August 18. I returned to Buffalo last evening & have 
walked over a large portion of the city this day. The present 
harbor is too small & must be extended, & I am confident it 
must be formed between the mouth of Buffalo Creek & the 
Niagara river. The creek is too narrow to subserve the pur- 
poses of a harbor, for even now it is filled up with vessels & 
boats of all kinds. The proposed south channel which has 
been commenced from the Creek to the Lake, will be diffi- 
cult to enter in stormy weather & be liable to be filled up by 
sand, driven in to it, during gales of wind. Besides, the land, 
sloping to the lake & Niagara river from the main street is 
high, & admirably formed for building upon, while that 
southeast of the street is low, flat & is often overflowed. 
The plan I prepare is shown in the following diagram, and 
it will be certainly made in TEN YEARS, and SOONER 







I am not well having taken cold 

August 19. 
on the 17th. 

August 20. I came out to Allen's tavern on the Buffalo 
reservation this forenoon. The Council House was burnt 
down last night about one oclock, & it is supposed it was 
done by the Indians who are opposed to emigration.* We 

* The Buffalo Commercial Advertiser of Monday, Aug. 20, 1838, said: 
"The new Council House in Seneca (Indian) village, about six miles east of 
this on the Indian Reservation, was consumed by fire, this morning. The cir- 
cumstances attending the erection and destruction of this building are these, as 
we learned them from Mr. Allen, who keeps the tavern at the village, and built 
the house. It appears that a portion of the Seneca nation who are opposed to 
the consummation of the treaty to sell their lands, objected strenuously to the 


therefore held the Council in a beautiful grove, east of the 
tavern. Mr. Gillet made a speech & stated the object of the 
meeting. I also addressed the Indians, & explained why I 
had been sent as Superintendent of Massachusetts. There 
were between 80 & 90 chiefs & principal warriors present. 
I wrote the Governor & sent him a copy of my speech, taken 
from recollection of what I said. 

August 21. Met the Indians in Council. 

August 24. Mr. Gillet concluded his explanations of the 
amended treaty & the Indians remained to deliberate on the 
subjects submitted. 

August 25. The Indians were in Council all this day & 
at sunset I went into the City where I passed the night at 
the American Hotel, which is more richly furnished than 
any other in the U. S. The building was built by the notori- 
ous speculator Rathbon [Rathbun] & cost 100,000 dollars & 
the furniture 50,000. 

August 27. Buffalo reservation. I went down to White 
Haven on Grand Island on the 26th, in the Red Jacket to 
pass the day with my friend the Hon. Stephen White on 
Sunday the 26th. He took me in a boat over to Tonnawanda 
Island where he is building a Brick House. It is a beautiful 
spot. There are about one hundred acres in the island of 
level & excellent land. Some 10 acres are cleared & the rest 
is covered with forest trees & primitive & secondary growth. 
There is an Indian mound on the eastern side of the island 
30 feet in diameter & 12 feet high. It has been opened & 
many bones, lead pipes & flintstone arrow heads found in it. 

There is a Steam Saw mill on Grand Island, in which are 
six gangs of saws, of from 9 to 10 in each. They saw white 

holding of a council in the old Council House, for the purpose of confirming 
the treaty as amended by the Senate. Accordingly, Mr. Allen, by the advice of 
the party in favor of the treaty, constructed a rude but commodious house for 
the holding of the proposed council, which we believe was to have been holden 
this present week. Between the hours of one and two this morning, the building 
was discovered on fire, and from the various points at which the fire was raging 
at the same time, there is no doubt that it was communicated by some person or 
persons, to several parts of the building, with the intention of destroying it. 
Fire was also communicated to some straw within a few feet of the barn be- 
longing to the tavern, and much exertion was required to save the building. 
This is, we think, but an expression of the feeling that at present exists among 
that portion of the Seneca Nation, who are hostile to the proposed treaty." 


oak plank chiefly & the logs are from 18 inches to five feet in 
diameter & from 40, & 50 to 75 feet long. Each gang of 
saws cuts from five to six logs a day, making from 25 to 30 
according to the length & size. The plank are sent down the 
Canal to Albany & from thence shipped to N. York, Boston, 
Portland & other seaports. Many are sent to the U. S. Navy 
Yard as well as keel & other timber. The Island is 10 miles 
long & six broad & contains about 15,000 acres.* 

I returned to Buffalo on the evening of the 26th. & came 
out here this morning. At last after 95 days the weather 
changed from a continued heat yesterday morning, there 
having been a thunder shower the day before & this morning 
there is a cold rain storm. I put on a cloak for the first time, 
since June. The Indians have been in council all this day. 

August 28. The Indians have been in council the last 
two days, by themselves. The Indians, by the contract with 
Ogden & fellows, — the representatives of the grantees of the 
preemtive right of Massachusetts, are to be paid 202,000 for 
the lands belonging to the Seneca reservations, which are as 
follows ; — 

Buf ° Creek Res n 49,920 acres 

Cattaraugus reservation 21,680. 

Alleghany -. 30,469. 

Tounawanda . . 12,800 

Acres 1 14,869 

Tuscarora Reservation . 1,920 

for which 9,600 dollars is to be paid. 

Total quantity 1 16,789 Acres 

Amount of money to be paid to the Indians by the United 

For a cession of the land owned by the Indians or rather 
granted to the N. York indians, but which grant was in fact 
null as they did not remove from N. York on to the land 
before Jany 1837, were about 600 Oneidas, & the Stock- 
bridgs, to wit, 

•More accurately, 17,381 acres. 


To the onehand Party of Oneidas 3,000 

" First Christian party of Onidas 30,500 


which is to reimburse the indians for money ex- 
pended by them & in remuneration of the services 
of their chiefs & agents in purchasing & securing 
a title to their reservation. This is by a treaty 
concluded with the Green Bay Indians at Washing- 
ton on the 3d of Feby. 1838. 

Amount to be paid to the New York Indians by the 
United States for the expense of removing them to 
their new home in the West, — for building school 
houses, council houses, churches, mills, black smith's 
shops, domestic animals, agricultural tools & in- 
structions in the arts, agriculture & education 400,000 

expenses of exploring parties, council & missions 

to Washington 16,500 

Add to the amount paid by Ogden & fellows for 

Seneca reservations 202,000 

for Tuscarora Resn 9,600 

Amount to be paid in money 661,600 

A tract of land 104 miles long & 27 wide granted 
to the Indians west of Missouri, containing 1,824,- 
000 acres, which at 1*4 dols per acre amounts to. .2,280,000 

Total amount 2,941,600 

The land in the Indian country cost about 100,000 
dollars & the Green Bay purchase 33,500. but put 
the cost an value of the latter at Ij4 dollars per 
acre, and as 60,000 acres were reserved for the 
indians who reside there, & the remainder 440,000 

amounts to 550.000 

which deduct from the amount stated as granted by the U. S. 
& Ogden & Fellows of 2,957,000 dollars & it leaves 2,407,000 
dollars & deducting therefrom the amount paid by Ogden & 


Fellows of 211,600 & it leaves the whole amount which the 

U. S. gives 2,195,400, for the benefit of the Indians. & as an 

inducement to emigrate. 

The indians receive annuities from the state of New York 

amounting to $17,137.92 

The annuities from the United States amounts 

to the Senecas 6,000 

to the Six nations 4,500 

The number of Indians is as follows 

Senecas at Buffalo 730 Tounawanda 440 Cattarauges 

440 Alleghany 600 making 2,309* 

Tuscaroras 273 

St. Regis have in the U. S. a reservation of 10,000 
acres, the fee belongs to N. York, population from 

6 to 700 but in U. S. reservation only 350 

Cayugas. There are about 130 remaining in the U. S. 130 
They own no land, many years since, having sold 
their land & gave the Senecas 800 for permission to 
reside on their land. 

Onondagas. They have a reservation in Onondaga 
County of 6,000 acres & 300 reside on the land, & 
194 reside with the Senecas for which they paid 1,500 

dols. population 494 

Oneidas They own 5,000 acres which is occupied by 

about 620 

600 reside at Green bay on land bought of the Men- 

Total in N York 4,176 

A Green Bay &c 1 ,309 

Total New York Indians 5,485 

August 29. The Indians .have been in Council by them- 
selves all day. 

I walked into the wood to ascertain the kinds of trees 
shrubs & herbacious plants which are indigenous to this part 

* Wrong, but as in original. 


of the Union. I find a tree called the cucumber & a variety 
of the poplar not in the forests of Mas ts also the Tulip tree 
and a vine of the Smilax family, with berries arranged in a 
ball two inches in diameter. There are numerous mandrake 
plants. Most of the fruit is now ripe, & in that state is of a 
rich yellow color, with a redish brown shade on the sides, an 
near the stem or blossom end & delicately dotted with minute 
redish brown spots. The skin is thick & encloses a rich jucy 
pulp, which has the aroma & flavor of the pine apple. It is 
very agreeable & considered healthy. The plant is her- 
bacious & perennial I believe, from an examination of the 
roots. It grows in rich moist lands, in the woods, & on the 
bottom land of the river & streams. There are many seeds 
in the fruit, & I have saved a number to plant in my garden ; 
for besides the fruit, the plant is handsome, from its large 
leaves & white blossom. There is only one fruit on a plant. 
The plant is from a foot to 20 inches high. The fruit is of a 
flatish form, being about a third broader than it is thick. 
The stem is inclined from one of the broad sides to the other. 
[The author's rough sketches of the mandrake fruit are 

The Indians smoke the bark of several shrubs & this 
forenoon Air. Jones went out & brought two of them. One 
is a Cornus & the other a small species of the willow growing 
on the banks of streams, with a redish bark. They also use 
the cones of a dwarf kind of Sumac. These substitutes for 
tobacco are called Kin-a-ka-nick. The same term is common 
to all the northern tribes, it is said. I know it is used by the 

All the indian tribes are divided into 9 Clans, called the 
Bear, Beaver, Wolf, Deer, Snipe, Turtle, Hawk, Swan. 
There were 9 clans, but the Buck & Doe became united into 
one, or rather one of them became extinct & the other as- 
sumed the name of the Deer. The clans cannot intermarry. 
Each clan has its own chiefs, & peculiar names, which have 
ever existed. When a chief dies the vacancy is filled by the 
clan to which the deceased belonged & other clans have no 
voice in the choice but all the chiefs meet to induct him into 
office. Most of the chiefs assume a name characteristic of 


the office they hold. Indians receive a name when born & 
another is given when they are 16 years old a third when 
they are men & a 4th when 30 years old & they may then 
take any other name, which they may please to adopt. 

Ho nart har yo ne Wolf Ho de swek gie a Chicken Hawk 
Har de nyr deh Turtle Ho de na se a Snipe 
Ho de geh ga gr Beaver Ho de die ok gr Swan 
Ho de jo ne gr Bear Ho devigo gwie a Deer 

Sep 26. 1838. The above names of the Indian Clans, 
or families was given me by Cone, of the Tonawanda Reser 

H. A. S. Dearborn. 

August 30. The weather has been cool since the morn- 
ing of the 20th, especially the nights. I found on the edge 
of the woods yesterday a vine of the Clamatis, like that com- 
mon in Massachusetts N. Hampshire & Maine.* 

Many of the Indian chiefs & warriors of this tribe were 
in the last war, & several distinguished themselves in the 
battle of Chippawa; White seneca killed four Chippawa 
Indians in single combat, with the tomahawk; he is now 
about 50 years old, & is a stout & vigorous man. 

There is an old man in this tribe who calls himself a 
prophet. He belongs to the Pagan party & pretends to con- 
verse with angels & even with the great spirit & like Sweden- 
berg, goes to heaven & hell when he chooses. He reports 
having seen several of the leading chiefs who are in favor 
of emigration standing in a stream of melted lead, up to 
their knees, as a punishment for their conduct. Alas ! for 
human nature. In all ages & among all nations cunning, 
superstition & deception have rendered the influence of 
priests, — the self created prophets of the savage & civilized 
man, powerful & dominent. They have wielded the sceptre 
of terror over the Phareos of Egypt & the christian mon- 
archs of Europe, & made the wild Arab as well as the armies 
of Greece, Rome & the Crusades subservient to their am- 

* Probably the common Clematis virginiana. Gen. Dearborn, as the journal 
shows, was a student of botany and devoted to horticulture, but his botanical 
allusions are far from accurate. 


bition & influence. The Hindoo & Turk are but the children 
of superstition, while the adherents of Cromwell, Luther, 
Calvin, & the Popes of Rome, bowed with awe before them, 
& became the blood-stained partizans of their creeds. God 
have mercy, on the long deluded & oppressed, outraged & de- 
graded race of man. Truth, virtue, intelligence & benefi- 
cence are the natural principles of the human family, but 
villians have substituted, falsehood, revenge, persecution & 
cruelty for those heavenly qualities of the heart & mind. 

Mr. Gillet informed me last evening, that he was cross- 
ing Lake Ontario, to Otronto [Toronto] in the summer of 
1837, in company with a gentleman, who resides in Otronto, 
who stated, that the river Niagara had been seen from the 
streets of that city within a few months, elevated high in the 
air, so that the lake shore & the heights of Oueenstown were 
as distinct as if in a vessel directly off the mouth of the 
river. This phenomenon is a remarkable instance of the 
looming often seen on the ocean, & so well understood & ex- 
plained, on the laws which govern the passage of rays of 
light through less & more dense mediums. 

Mr. Jones of Moscow on the western side of Genesee 
river related the following facts. On the day of the battle 
of Chippawa, he with three other persons, were in a pasture 
on the hill, which overlooks Geneseo from the west, when 
they heard the reports of cannon & the rattle of small arms, 
in the direction of Niagara Falls for more than an hour & 
concluded there was a battle near that point on the frontier. 
The next day the news of the victory of Chippawa reached 
them. The distance in a straght line must be 54 miles. I 
heard the roar of the falls last evening, which are 24 miles 
from this place, & the roar of the sea on the shore of Lake 
Erie, distant 4 miles. It was clear & cool, with a little 

The bed of Buffalo Creek is slate stone where the bridge 
crosses it, & I found it strongly impregnated with bitumen, 
as is most of the slate & lime stone in this region. 

The two parties of the Indians, for emigration & remaing 
on their reservation, chose, in council, this forenoon commit- 
tees of six chiefs, on each side, who retired into the woods 


to discuss the subject & make report of the result of their 
deliberations. The Indian conference did not report to their 
several parties until late in the afternoon, & the council ad- 
journed to 10 o'clock to morrow. 

August 31. The night was cool, rendering a fire com- 
fortable, but this morning the sky is clear & the weather 

I attended an Indian dance at the Onondaga Council 
House last evening, which is on the right bank of the Creek 
& two miles above. At half past nine a chief haranged the 
assembly, announced the presence of the U. S. Commis- 
sioner & the Superintendent of Massachusetts, — directed 
what dances were to be performed & the order of their suc- 
cession. I was informed that the warriors were preparing 
in a neighboring hut & at ten, the drum & Indian war-whoop 
gave notice of their approach. & in a few moments they 
rushed into the Council House with a terrific yell. They 
were entirely naked save a small strip of red or plad cloth 
round the loins. Their faces were painted various colours, & 
their heads ornamented with feathers & trinkets. Each had 
a war club tomahawk or some other weapon in the hand. 
The[y] danced several different measures & after each, the 
presiding chief complimented them in a short speech. A 
squaw dance followed, which was began by two, dancing 
round a long bench, others joined, until some 30 were up all 
having their blankets on, when they began, but threw them 
off after dancing a little while. Their under dress was a pet- 
ticoat & calico gown made like a hunting frock. When the 
squaw dance ended, there was one commenced by two men, 
and continued until at least 40 were up, and then followed 
another dance, in which the males & females united. They 
sang during the whole of the dancing. We left at 12 o'clock. 

There is neither wine or spirit allowed in the council 
house at these dances, but there was a large caldron boiling 
in one of the fire places, in which was meat, vegetables & 
flower, which formed a kind of soup. When the dance be- 
gan with the men generally, a squaw put a basket of black- 
berries on a bench round which they danced & each from 
time to time taking out a handful, & eating them as they 



danced. This is the plan of the Council House, which is 60 
by 20 feet. 









.+ -tie d 


« « e 

JS^sJfKfi If 1 


£>J^k /berr /'es 


4? C 



-eund « 



\ri 1 n ci ° *sf 

I, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 seats. The women sat at one end & the men at 
the other, except the war dance, all the others were in a circle as 
above delineated. C. Caldron. 

The Indian Council was opened at 12 & Mr. Gillet ex- 
plained various portions of the treaty & stated many facts 
in relation to the land which has been appropriated for the 
New York Indians. It adjourned at half past one to eleven 
o'clock tomorrow. An English gentleman & lady were pres- 
ent & Miss Cliften, the distinguished actress ; she is a mag- 
nificent lady, — an imperial beauty. The form & figure one 
of the Juno size & her whole appearance superb. 

I received from my friend the Hon. Stephen White a 
number of the Masts. Historical Society's publications, con- 
taining Genl. Lincoln's Journal of his tour to the Miami 
river in 1793 as one of the Commissioners of the U. S. to 
negociate a treaty of peace with the North Western Tribes 
of Indians ; and appended to it is an engraving of a sketch, 
made by a British officer, of a council held on Buffalo Creek 
with the Senecas. I shew it to Blue Eyes & White Seneca & 
Capt. Strong, distinguished chiefs now here, & they at once 
recognized the figure to the right of the Indian orator, who 
is sitting down, with a pipe in his hand as the celebrated 
Warrior & eminent Chief Farmer's Brother & the orator 
as Corn Planter. Farmer's brother thev informed me, com- 


nianded the Seneca warriors in the battles of Black Rock 
Chippawa & Lundy's Lane. He was then between 75 & 80 
years of age. He died in 181 5, or 1816. His memory is 
held in high veneration.* 

Mr. Jones father, — who is now present, from Genesee 
river, was the Interpreter at the Councils held on the Miama. 

September 1. I attended an Indian game of ball this 
afternoon, in which the young men evinced great activity & 
skill. There was a large collection of people including a 
large portion of the Indians on this reservation, — men 
women & children and many of the citizens of Buffalo. The 
young men who took the field, were generally naked, with a 
red sash round their waist, & red ornaments on their arms & 
heads. There were six on each side & the field for the ex- 
ploit contained about ten acres. The object of the opposing 
parties was to get the ball past two tall staffs, — 1 & 2, set up 
opposite others, 3 & 4 on two sides of the field thus : 

3 Staff ^ 1 Staff 

The center of the 
field where 


the Indian ball-players 
assembled & the game began. 

4 Staff ' 2 Staff 

The spectators were arranged on the sides of the field. 
The bats used were five feet to 5^2 long, the lower end is 
bent so as to make the width at least eight inches. From 
the end of the bent portion a cord of deerskin extends to 
with 18 inches of the upper end of the bat & others are 
drawn paralel to it & confined in holes, pierced through the 
inner side of the bat, w r hich is cut into an obtuse edge for 
that purpose, & other cords are interlaced forming a net 
work of a close & elastic character. [Crude sketch of lacrosse 
stick, omitted.] 

The ball is not touched by the hand but is taken up on 
the bat, or caught in it, when the person who has thus got 

•Farmer's Brother died March 2, 1815, and is now buried in Forest Lawn 
cemetery, Buffalo. See Buffalo Historical Society Publications, Vol. V., pp. 
227-228. The sketch referred to is reproduced in Vol. VI., opposite p. 497- 


[it] runs toward the two staffs, for the purpose of throwing 
it beyond them. The other party pursues & if he finds that 
[he] will overtake him & either knock the ball from the bat or 
intercept his course he suddenly turns round & with a violent 
motion throws the ball over his head to the rear. The game 
is up when either party has put the ball five times past the 
opponents staffs. The Indians were naked except a red sash 
round the loins, & ornaments on their head & arms. It is 
the most elegant game of ball which can be performed and 
admirably calculated to exhibit the rapid, various and athletic 
movements of the young men. When the game is played the 
whole tribe attends, for it is as honored an exhibition as was 
those of Olympia among the Greeks. 

Sunday Sept. 2. I went to the Mission meeting house 
this forenoon. The services were opened by Seneca White, 
a Seneca Chief, who made a prayer in the language of his 
tribe, a Hymn was then sung by four young indian men & 
four white women. Mr. Wright the Missionary delivered a 
sermon, on temperance & virtue; when he concluded an 
other Hymn was sung & Joseph Isaacs a Cayuga Chief 
closed the services with a prayer. 

I went to the house of the minister & he gave me the 
Gospel of Luke translated into the Seneca language by T. S. 
Harris, & a school book of stories.* Mr. Wright informed 
me that there was nearly half of this band who had been 
considered christians, but he did not think that there were so 
many now, & that the pagan party was increasing. When 
the religious services commenced there were only 13 indians 
in the church, but as they came in during the whole service, 
there were 62 when it ended. 

This mission has been established twelve years & Mr. 
Wright has been here six, & after all the commendable 
efforts to improve the spiritual & temporal condition of the 
Indians, the result has been unsatisfactory. The Indians 
instead of becoming christians, more moral, industrious 
sober & correct in their habits have deteriorated in all those 

* The record of the Rev. Asher Wright's work among the Ser.ecas and that 
of the Rev. Thompson S. Harris, will be found fully set forth in Vol. VI. of the 
Buffalo Historical Society Publications. 


particulars & their condition is deplorable. There is no 
probability of their continuance as a people, unless they re- 
move west & adopt the industrious habits of the whites, as 
farmers & mechanics. All the attempts which have been 
made to civilize the indians have failed, because they were 
begun, with the policy of first christenizing them. The 
Indians must be induced to till the land, own it in fee & 
severalty, become mechanics & learn to read & write, become 
acquainted with the simple rules of arithmatic & other 
branches of intelligence taught in our primary schools, be- 
fore religion should be the subject of consideration. First 
teach the arts of civilization & Christianity will naturally 
follow in their march of refinement. 

They are here generally idle & too many of them intem- 
perate & dissilute in their manners, both male & female. 
They are licentious, & adhere with great pertinacity to the 
vagabond life of the savage. They do not raise sufficient 
provisions for their support & a few white people have leased 
their farms & cut their timber for boards, shingles & other 
purposes & keep little taverns which tend to increase the 
misery of this degraded & fast perishing nation. They have 
excellent tracts of land, but it is nearly all in a state of 
nature, & the Indians are too lazy to either clear it up an 
[ ?or] cultivate such as has for ages been divested of trees & 
fit for tillage. 

Returning from church with Mr. Gillet we were thrown 
out of the waggon, but, praise be to God, neither of us were 
injured materially. 

Sep 3. There was a frost last night which produced ice. 
The potatoes, squash, bean & other vines were killed ; most 
of the corn is ripe, but even that which is not has not been 
injured so much as to endanger its becoming mature. We 
have had fires for these three days past. 

The Council convened at twelve & was not concluded 
until three oclock. I wrote a letter of 8 pages to my wife. I 
have written some twelve or fourteen since I left home, & 
many of them were of eight pages. This evening is cloudless, 
calm & cold. The moon will be full to morrow evening ; but 
she now throws a splendor over the earth. The frost last 

? 1 


night, reminds me of an old saying- in New England, that if 
there is not a frost at the September full of the moon, there 
will be none until the October full. Why should there be 
frosts at the full, rather than at any other age of the moon ? 
Philosophy does not explain it, & is there truth in the general 
belief, that, frosts, in the autumn, do not happen before the 
Sep r or October full of the moon. 

Sep 4. There was no frost last night, & the day has been 
cloudless, warm & pleasant. 

The council opened at twelve & adjourned at half past 
three. Mr. Gillet closed his explanations, & I made a speech, 
confirming the facts stated by Mr. Gillet, in relation to the 
provisions of the treaty, — the instructions of the government, 
— the character of the land in the tract appropriated for the 
Indians as represented by the persons who had explored it, 
— the manner in which the Indians had been treated in New 
England & the other old Atlantic states, & the disasterous 
results ; — for notwithstanding the efforts to ameliorate & 
improve their condition, nearly the whole of them were 
extinct, as nations, & the few broken fragments, of once pow- 
erful tribes in Mas. & Maine, are in a miserable state & are 
annually diminishing in number & sinking in morals & all 
that is commendable in character & conduct. I also stated 
what was the limited & peculiar title of the indians to the 
land they now occupy. Big Kettle & Johnson made speeches. 
& the former, who is the leading chief opposed to the treaty, 
but was answered by White Seneca in a very able & eloquent 

I took a walk with Mr. Gillet towards sunset & went to 
the residence of Capt. Pollard one of the oldest & most re- 
spectable chiefs, He lives on the left bank of the Creek a 
mile below the bridge, of the Buffalo road. We returned by 
a foot path through the woods. The land is excellent & the 
scenery beautiful, on the margins of the rivers & stream 
which waters this reservation. The interval, or bottom land 
is almost exclusively the only portion cultivated by the 

Sep. 5. The moon rose full & in magnificence last even- 
ing, & the sun has wheeled up this morning over the forest, 


into a clear & calm atmosphere, indicating a superb day. 
This is truly, lovely autumnal weather. The Council was 
opened at 12 oclock & speeches were made in opposition to 
the treaty, by Little Johnson, Seneca White & Stephenson 
of the Buffalo reservation, & Jimmy Johnson of Tonna- 
wanda, Innis Halftown, of Alleghany, & Israel Jemison of 
Cataraugus ; & George Bennet of Cataraugus spoke in favor 
of the Treaty. At the request of Big Kettle, the Council was 
adjourned to friday, to give the Indians an opportunity of 
celebrating their Corn Feast, or thanksgiving to the Great 
Spirit, for his bounteous dispensations. Mr. Gillet & myself 
were invited to attend & we accepted, with grateful acknowl- 
edgments for the honor thus done us. I have copied the 
treaty, written letters & in this journal 48 pages since yester- 
day morning, — having got up at 5 each of the two mornings 
& performed all the labor before dinner of the two days. 

Evening. I took a path, which led into the woods, half 
an hour before sundown, & walked for an hour. I found an 
abundance of blackberries ; but the grandure of the forest, 
the large & lofty oaks, maples, beeches, Tulip trees, Hem- 
locks & hickories, and the numerous beautiful shrubs, & 
plants, of this fertile soil were the inducements for wander- 
ing, through the primitive wilderness. The silence, — the 
umbragious solemnity, — the aroma so peculiar to the wild- 
wood scenery, — the associations which were brought to the 
mind, — these regions having been, for centuries & still are, 
the residence of the natives of this glorious country ; all, & 
each roused & excited the imagination, & created a deep & all 
absorbing interest for the physical & moral objects which 
were united within the scope of immediate observation & 
afforded so much of reality, & so many thoughts for reflec- 
tion, wonder and, admiration, that I luxuriated in the 
scenery. Here were the hunting grounds & battle fields of 
the warlike tribes of the Six Nations. To these distant & 
dark forests how many captives of the scattered population 
of the early colonists were compelled to submit to the hor- 
rors, privations, & cruelties of the savages. How many 
children's tears have been poured out upon this soil, & how 
much of parental blood, while, for years, they sighed with 



hopeless longings to be returned to their own dearly loved 
home, on the borders of the ocean, or in some secluded vil- 
lage, which contained their numerous fond & dear relatives 
& friends, but whose bright faces they never again were to 
behold. The white mans will soon possess the whole land, 
& the Indian no longer be known save in the far climes of 
the west. 

Sep. 6. An other bright, bland, & beautiful morning. 
Such clear & mild & sunny autumnal days have a peculiar 
loveliness. They call up the recollections of my boyhood, 
when at the like season, & during such delightful weather, I 
was either floating on the placid waters of the Kennebeck, 
with my angling rod traversing the woods with my gun, or 
actively & ardently engaged in other of those infinite occupa- 
tions, which, in the juvenile period of life, occupy our whole 
time. & attention, our numerous plans for each succeeding 
day fill up, in their execution, every moment, from early 
morn, until tired, we retire to rest, with the setting sun, — or 
by the bright stars, or more resplendent light of the admired 
moon the amusements, and constantly varying shouts, in the 
forest & on the water are prolonged far, into the night. How 
delightful are the reminiscencies of boy-hood. 

Evening. I went to the little falls of Buffalo Creek in 
the morning, distant five miles to witness the Corn Feast of 
the Pagan portion of the tribe. There were about three hun- 
dred Indians assembled, of whom over an hundred were 
females from 14 years of age to the oldest matrons. Big 
Kettle appeared to fill the office of High Priest & the cere- 
monies commenced at eleven oclock by a dance in the fore- 
noon in the Council house. There was a bench in the centre, 
on which two men sat facing each other having a turtle shell, 
to which a handle was formed by the neck & head being 
skinned & stuffed & secured by wooden splints to the shell. 
Dry Corn was put in the shell, which thus constituted a large 
kind of rattle, of this appearance : 



The men sang & beat time on the bench with the rattles, 
striking them, on the edge. Big Kettle & an other principal 
Chief commenced the dance & were joined in succession by 
other men, until 30 were in the ring, while an interior circle 
of 20 women, was at the same time formed, — two of the 
oldest beginning. The men followed each other, as in a 
march, but the women moved sideways, without taking their 
feet from the floor, by sliding the heels and toes alternately, 
& beating time with their hands keeping their elbows at their 
sides, but without uttering a sound, & they looked down on 
the bench & musicians in a grave & modest manner, while 
the men sang threw themselves into the most violent atti- 
tudes, turned round frequently, & ever & anon uttered the 
most clamorous yells. 



SB<^ n^Jt 



„ ^ ^ *m ^ ^ 

3§ /\U-r Tw : 
^ 6ti S> 8fT If* 

J (9 



— 27 o ox» 

A, bench ; B, circle of women dancers ; C, men dancers. 

The dance was kept up for more than an hour, & when it 
was concluded Big Kettle made a long speech, which was a 
kind of religious & moral lecture. He gave an account of 
their religious customs & beliefs & the importance of their 
being kept up, & urged upon the audience the necessity of 
virtue, of sobriety, truth & honesty, attention to wives & all 
the moral obligations & duties to insure the favor of the 
Great Spirit & the inheritance of a state of perpetual happi- 
ness in an other world, after death. 

When sufficient time had been allowed for rest, another 
dance was commenced, but a horn with pebles in it & a 


drum were substituted for the turtle shell rattles, as instru- 
ments of music. The rattle is formed of the frustrum of an 
oxhorn about 8 inches long, with wooden heads of a semi- 
sperical shape in each end & a handle in the smaller end, 
seven or eight inches long. The drum, is a cask of the ten- 
gallon size, with a sheep skin made into a parchment stretched 
over one end & is beaten with a little stick a foot long with 
the end cut into a ball, an inch in diameter. The musicians 
sing during the whole dance, & the tune is often changed, as 
well as the time from slow to fast, — & the reverse. In this 
second dance the women followed each other like the men, 
but their motions were quietly executed & they looked down, 
with a serious face, while the men as before sang shouted & 
threw themselves into every possible attitude & gesticulated 
violently. When the dance was concluded, Big Kettle again 
haranged them for half an hour, in relation to the religious 
rites & duties & then sang a song, while walking round the 
bench alone & the others joined in the chorus, besides keep- 
ing time by a loud utterance of hip, hip hip. After Big 
Kettle concluded, all the other principal men, in succession 
made a short speech & sang a song walking once or twice 
round the bench. These songs are such as they expect to 
sing in heaven when they meet their friends there. They 
think all but murderers & a few very bad people will ulti- 
mately reach heaven, & live happily, having nothing to do' 
but hunt, eat, sing & enjoy themselves, very much in the 
manner of the believers of Mahomet. 

Another short dance & a speech from Big Kettle & a 
Tonawanda chief concluded these ceremonies, when there 
was another dance, in which the women & men united as in 
the first dance. When this was over, corn cooked in various 
ways, & made into succatash with beans, squashes & other 
vegetables, and three large brass kettles containing soup 
made of three deer were placed in the middle of the Council 
House, & distributed by five squaws, to other squaws into 
baskets & tin kettles, which were carried out, by the squaws 
of the different families to their husbands & children, who 
were scattered in groups on the grass ; but many of the 
squaws whose families were not present carried the soup & 


other provisions home, as I passed many thus laden five 
miles from the little falls. I rode home on horseback through 
the wood, in company, with some twenty Indian men & 
women, who were about equally divided into equestrians & 
pedestrians. There was only a foot path & that very crooked 
crossed by wind falls, filled with roots & interupted by 
streams & mudholes; still the ride was very interesting, 
through five miles of the primitive forest, in company with 
the aborigines of the country. 

Sep. 7. The Council met at 12 & was in session until 
after four. There was a very animated debate between the 
chiefs of emigration & opposition parties. Strong, Bennet 
& White Seneca advocated emigration & an assent to the 
amended treaty; Jemison of Cataraugus & Hudson replied, 
& then there were rejoinders by Bennet & White Seneca, 
when Big Kettle made a speech against the treaty. After 
some remarks from Mr. Gillet the council adjourned. I rode 
out a few miles on horseback just before sunset for exer- 

The following traditions were related to me by Cone, a 
very intelligent young Indian of the Tonnawanda band. 

Tradition of the Indian Settlement on Buffalo Creek. 

There was a powerful tribe whose village was near the 
Niagara Falls, on the Canada side. For several years the 
corn crops failed from drought, an frosts, & an epidemic 
prevailed, which swept off many of the Indians. One day a 
girl went into the little cave above the falls to bathe, when a 
rattlesnake attacked her & in her effort to escape, she was 
carried down the rapids, & precipitated into the abyss below 
the cataract, to her astonishment she was uninjured & 
found herself in a cavern, under the falls, in the presence of 
the God of Thunder & Lightning, who there created the mist, 
which ascending into the heavens, formed clouds, from 
whence the lightnings are launched. He told the girl that the 
God of Starvation, or Famine, had his residence also, under 
the falls, & had caused the failure of the crops of corn, as he 
was a very bad & wicked god ; and there was also an im- 
mense water serpent under his command which lived in the 


niagara river & lake Erie ; — this serpent came down often 
into the little bay, at the mouth of the stream, which falls 
into the river just above the falls, to cleanse himself of the 
filth which accumulated on his skin, & that the water was 
thus poisoned in that little bay ; which being the place where 
the indians supplied themselves with water for drinking & 
cooking they were made sick & died. Now said the Thunder 
& Lightning God, go home to your tribe & tell them to pack 
up all their property & procede in their bark canoes from the 
mouth of Chippewa river up the Niagara to Buffalo creek, & 
form a settlement, where the stream is separated into two 
branches, & they will raise good crops & enjoy perfect health. 
The God of Starvation will send the large Water Serpent 
after you, for the purpose of defiling the water of the creek ; 
.but I will follow him in a dark cloud, & when he has ad- 
vanced a few miles up the creek, I will hurl a thunderbolt at 
him, & slay him. The Indians made the removal, as recom- 
mended, & saw the huge serpent following their canoes ; but 
when they got to the place where they were to land, they 
heard a thunder clap & saw a flash of lightning strike the 
monster when he floundered turned round & lashed the water 
with his tail with great violence, & fled down the Creek, 
which was rendered bloody from the wound made in the 
serpent, & he was so large that in turning round he scooped 
out a deep & broad basin, in the creek, which exists at this 
day. After the indians had landed & got their temporary 
camps made, the girl informed them, that they must send a 
deputation down to their old town, near the falls, & they 
wouid then ascertain the truth of the promises of the thunder 
God, for he had instructed her to communicate that intelli- 
gence. A deputation departed forthwith in their canoes, & 
when they reached the little bay they found the immense 
water serpent dead & in a state of putrefaction, — & on going 
into the village, they saw a pole 40 feet high, erected in 
front of the Council House, from which was suspended the 
thigh & legs of the God of Starvation, which were so emaci- 
ated & lean, that they appeared only skin & bones. It was 
so large that although secured by the upper end of the thigh 
to the top of the pole, the foot touched the ground. Having 


thus ascertained that the God of Starvation & his great 
water snake were both dead, they returned & reported the 
remarkable facts to the nation; & ever after the indians 
enjoyed good health & had fine crops of corn. 

The Origin of the Seven Stars. 

Many years ago, the Indians had so much neglected all 
their religious rites & ceremonies, that even dancing was 
discontinued, when seven of the most elegant & active young 
men formed themselves into a corps for the purpose of re- 
establishing the old dances. One of them was the singer & 
the others dancers. They went from house to house, all 
through the nation, & invited the men & women to join them 
in dancing, an amusement & form of worship which was so 
acceptable to the great spirit ; but not an individual could be 
induced to participate in the recreation. At last the people 
saw them gradually ascending to the skies, from the green 
in front of the Council House, singing & dancing as they 
went up ; & when it was discovered their young friends were 
leaving this world, they called upon [them] to return in the 
most urgent & affecting manner, and were so afflicted at the 
idea of their loss that they wept & implored them in the most 
urgent & endearing terms to come back & they would all join 
them in the dance ; but the seven young men paid no atten- 
tion to the supplications of their relatives & countrymen, & 
still kept dancing, singing & ascending until they dwindled 
into the appearance of bright stars, where they have ever 
since continued to dance & sing, as may be seen by the con- 
stant twinkling motion of six of the number which are the 
dancers & the fixed light of the seventh who is the singer. 
Since that calamitous event, which was considered a judg- 
ment of the Great Spirit for the wickedness of the tribe in 
omitting to honor him by dances, they have ever since been 
religiously kept up. 

As was stated, in the account of the dance I witnessed in 
the Onondaga Council House, these recreations are formal 
religious rites, over which some of the principal chiefs al- 
ways preside. 


Sep 8. The weather has been clear, calm, bright, sunny 
& cloudless since the frost of the 3d. The days hot even, but 
the nights a little cool. I began a letter to my wife yesterday 
& wrote five pages. There are numerous Black- Walnut 
trees on the banks of Buffalo Creek. I gathered seven of 
the nuts this morning, which I intend to carry home & plant, 
as the tree is not indigenous in New England. As an orna- 
mental & timber tree it is highly appreciated. In cabinet 
work it is handsomer than the Rose-wood & I like it for fur- 
niture better than Mahgany. 

The council met at 12 & there was a debate principally 
among the chiefs until after four. Mr. Gillet explained sev- 
eral subjects on which there was a misunderstanding among 
the opposition party. 

At five I went over to the Onondaga Council House to 
witness a game of ball, played by twelve young men of the 
tribe. One of them, called David Tall Chief, is a young 
Apollo in form, with a beautiful countenance & eyes as large, 
lusterous & soft in expression as an Italian lady. He is but 
20 years old & is as rapid in running & as adroit in the game 
as a Grecian athlete. 

This has been a very hot day. There were numerous 
carriages from Buffalo on the ball ground, & many of the 
Indians of all ages & of both sexes. 

I went into an Indian hut, on the hill above the Council 
House, from curiosity, to see the interior & the inmates, & 
how they lived. There was a rough kind of portico covered 
with bark in front of the house, in which a blanket was sus- 
pended like a hammock, where an infant was sleeping. 
There were three women & one man in the only room of 
which the hut consisted. One was the widow of the cele- 
brated chief Red Jacket, — who is over 90 years of age, an- 
other the wife of Isaacs, the proprietor, & the third his 
mother-in-law. The last was lying on a bunk or broad 
bench, in a corner, with a blanket under her as a bed & a 
sheet over her, in a high fever. She was groaning in great 
agony, every breath she drew ; I took hold of her hand, & 
it was very hot, with the other she touched her head & mur- 
mured in Indian to me. The tones of distress although in 


an unknown tongue were painful to hear. Her daughter 
said she had been sick three weeks, was suffering from 
severe pain, in her head. 

I asked if there had been a physician to see her & she 
said yes an Indian Doctor. I immediately went down to the 
ball play-green & found Doctor Wilcox who resides in Buf- 
falo, & is in attendance with the council daily, he having 
been west, with the exploring party, as physician to the In- 
dian population, & has had considerable practice among the 
Indians of this reservation. He went back with me & found 
that she had been afflicted with the fever & ague & now 
there was a high billious fever. He said she could be cured, 
and directed Isaacs, her son-in-law, to come to him in Buf- 
falo to-morrow morning & he would give him calomel &c. 
for cathartics & emetics. I gave the sick woman two dollars 
to purchase little necessaries to render her comfortable for 
which she appeared most grateful & reaching out her hand & 
taking mine, repeated often, "Tankee, Tankee," while tears 
came into her eyes. Doct. Wilcox told her who I was & she 
again repeated tankee, tankee. I shall see that the poor 
woman is well taken care of. Mr. Allen sent her some 
flowers. She is about 60 years old, tall, of a very large size, 
and has a chest & form like an Amizon. How much these 
miserable people suffer from poverty & hedelessness. They 
have no idea of providing for the future. 

Sunday. Sep 9. I went to an Indian dance last night, a 
number of us having given the Indians 36 dollars to pur- 
chase provisions for the entertainment & reward the ball- 
players. I only stoped to see the men dance, for the Council 
House was very crowded & the night was extremely warm. 
There were at least 200 men & women, in & about the House. 
The women dressed in their best apparel. Red Jacket's 
widow was present & appeared as interested as any other 
person. She attends the Council almost daily. 

The pleasant weather continues, but the change of colour 
in the foliage of the forest trees from the effects of the frost 
on the 3d. is becoming apparent. The maples give their 
bright yellow & scarlet tints & the leaves of the sumacks have 
assumed a deep crimson. The picturesque scenery of au- 


tumn & the gorgeous display of colours, which the trees 
present, has begun. 

Cone, the young Tonnawanda Indian has related several 
other traditions derived from his Grand father, who was 
called Black Face, — which I have listened to with interest. 
They are as follows : 

The Creation of the World. 

The earth was originally very small & there were neither 
sun moon or stars. The only light by which it was illumed 
was produced by the white blossoms of a beautiful tree 
which periodically rouse up out of a deep pit or well, & then 
sunk down again, like the rising & sitting of the sun. In 
the water at the bottom of this profound abyss were all kinds 
of amphibeous annimals. There was a woman, who was 
near the period of her confinement, the man who lived with 
her in a moment of anger threw her into the pit, & as she 
descended, all the animals below became alarmed from her 
peculiarily delicate & perilous situation, & called upon her to 
remain suspended in her discent which they had the magical 
power to effect until they could prepare a dry spot of earth 
for her reception & convenient residence, until she was de- 
livered of the children, which they had ascertained were to 
be produced. The animals then consulted how mud was to 
be obtained from below the water in which they lived, for 
forming a dry spot of ground, — when a duck offered to dive 
down and bring it up ; but after being under the water for a 
long time it rose to the surface dead, then several other ani- 
mals made the experiment with equally as unfortunate re- 
sults. At last a musk-rat dove down, & to the dismay of all 
the assembled animals he rose to the surface lifeless ; but on 
examining his paws a very little mud was discovered ad- 
hering to his fore feet. This was to be carefully deposited 
on the back of some animal, where it could dry & increase in 
quantity. The Sea Serpent, immediately offered his services, 
but the other animals observed that he being carniverous, 
furious & cruel, the woman & her children would be in 
danger of their lives, if exposed upon his back. The Turtle 
then came forward & observed, that he was of a peaceable & 


quiet disposition & should be very happy to render assist- 
ance & protection to the beautiful woman. His offer was 
accepted with applause, & the little particles of mud were 
carefully collected from the feet of the musk rat & laid on 
his broad & flat back. It immediately began to increase in 
bulk & so rapidly, that this immense earth was soon pro- 
duced, & became covered with grass, flowers & trees, & 
watered by numerous rivers & streams, when the woman was 
invited to descend & occupy the most beautiful arbor in a 
grove, situated by the side of a cool & refreshing fountain 
or little lake. 

In a few days the woman was delivered of two sons, one 
in a natural manner & the other forced himself into the 
world through her ribs. As they grew up one was good & 
amiable in his disposition & the other wicked & vicious in 
his habits ; The former used to amuse himself in making 
little figures of all the animals, such as the mammoth buffalo, 
bear, elk, deer, wild turkies, partridges, rabits, & all the 
other kinds which could be useful to the indians, for food 
& clothing. These he breathed upon & they instantly as- 
sumed the size in which they have ever appeared & run off 
into the woods. 

One day the bad son asked the other to go a hunting 
with him, & it was agreed that each would go out for a 
whole day & the one who brought home the most game 
should have command of the universe. The wicked son 
went first & when he came back at night, he did not bring a 
single animal, for the good son had driven them all into the 
dark abyss, where they were secure from attack. The next 
day he went out & killed an abundence of game, of all the 
various kinds, which he had created, and he became the 
Great & Good Spirit, or God, & the other the evil spirit or 
the devil, who in revenge created snakes, toads, frogs & all 
the reptiles & venemous animals, & is always trying to do 
injury to the indians, & render them vicious, immoral and 
hateful, — while the other is their protector & friend, so long 
as they pay honor to him by adhering to his just precepts & 
laws & evince their respect & gratitude, by feasts & dances & 
are honest & correct in all their conduct, & will after their 


death, go & live with the great Spirit, above the skies, where 
there will be a perpetual summer, with abundent game, 
fruits & food of all kinds ; and they will have nothing to do 
but hunt, sing & dance & amuse themselves, in every way 
that is most agreeable for ever.* 

Black Face, Mr. Cone's Grandfather died last summer at 
the age of 120. He was in good health, had all his mental 
faculties entire, was able to walk several miles ; but riding 
in a waggon with a little boy he was upset & fractured his 
skull which occasioned his death, in a few days. He was a 
warrior, but not a chief. He was married to a second wife 
who was but 30 years of age when he was over a 100 & at 
the time of his death his youngest child was but 7 years of 
age. He worked up to the day of [receiving the] wound 
making white oak pipe stones & could fell the trees & split 
out 90 a day. Mr. Cone said there was no doubt of his being 
the father of four children which he had by his last wife. A 
remarkable instance of vigorous old age. 

He stated that when a boy the main body of the Senecas 
lived on the bank of the Genesee river where is now the 
town of Avon. He related to his grandson that when 16 
years old, all the north western Indians of Ohio, Indiana, 
Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin & upper Canada, combined in 
a plan for their extermination & came into their country with 
an immense army, & so confident were they of victory, that 
many of the warriors & chiefs brought their wives & children 
with them, to participate in the plunder & enjoy the fruits 
of their great and decisive anticipated victory. 

The Senecas got intelligence of the advance of the vast 
western army of invasion when it reached the Cattaraugus 
Creek & made the requisite arrangements for defence. Their 
whole military force was assembled on the stream, which 
runs into Genesee river between Avon & Geneseo. When 
the enemv arrived at the Genesee river, the water was so 

* This legend resembles in many details the account of "The Foundation 
of the Great Island," etc., in David Cusick's "Ancient History of the Six 
Nations," first published in 1825. In both forms — as given by Cusick and by 
Cone — it suggests the so-called Mosaic account of creation; the twin sons, one 
good and one evil, parallel the strife of Cain and Abel. The initial warfare 
between the powers of light and darkness, between good and evil, is the basis 
of fundamental traditions of many peoples. 


high that they could not ford it & were compelled to con- 
struct a temporary bridge, which from the great number of 
men was soon completed, & the whole of the army crossed 
near Mount Morris, & advanced down the right bank to 
within a few hundred yards of the stream on which the 
Senecas were encamped. The former were armed entirely 
with bows & arrows & war clubs, while nearly the whole 
number of Senecas had muskets, which they had procured 
from the French & English colonies. On the approach of the 
hostile army the Senecas descended into the stream & were 
secreted under the opposite bank, which was at least ten feet 
high. The army of invasion formed their line of battle 
parallel to & within 40 yards of the bank, one of the Sene- 
cas disguised like a bear, crawled up the bank, & advanced 
toward the line of the Western Indians, in the cautious 
manner of the annimal whose skin he had assumed, & when 
within 20 yards gave the war-whoop, at which signal the 
Senecas rose above the bank & threw in a tremendous fire ; 
the slaughter was immense, but the Western Indians, fought 
desperately, for, after finding that they could not cope with 
the Senecas by the use of their bows & arrows, they droped 
them & rushed to the conflict with the war club. The battle 
was long & obstinately contested, when the Western Indians 
gave way & fled toward Mount Morris ; but to their dismay 
the bridge had been destroyed by a party of the Senecas, 
who were sent for that purpose, as soon as the action com- 
menced. There the slaughter was renewed & the whole of 
the hostile army was killed, except a very few who escaped 
by swiming. 

The Squaws & children fled up the river during the re- 
treat of their friends & being unable to find subsistance they 
sent a deputation into the Camp of 'the Senecas claiming 
their hospitality & protection, & offering to continue as a 
part of that tribe, if they were kindly received. These terms 
were accepted & the women & children never returned io 
their native country, but were mingled with the Senecas, 
which occasioned the marked variety of races which are per- 
ceptable in the tribe even at this time. There had been a 
similar invasion from the west a half a centurv before, but 


so signally disastrous had been this campaign, that no other 
was ever attempted & the Senecas have since been held in 
great terror by the North Western tribes. They, in fact 
had never been conquered until in the campaign of General 
Sullivan, when they were defeated in the great battle fought 
at Freetown [Newtown, near Elmira], & all their towns & 
corn fields were destroyed, & they were driven to the Niagara 
frontier, where they were chiefly dependent upon the British 
garrison for food, during the winter. 

September 10. The same delightful weather still con- 
tinues. I went, with Mr. Gillet to Jack Berry's town, — yes- 
terday being Sunday — which is north east from this settle- 
ment & distant four miles, to witness a game of ball be- 
tween seven of the best players among the pagans, in that 
part of the reservation & the same number of the young 
christians from this village. The field was extensive, in- 
cluding at least thirty acres. The young men were all 
stripped naked except a short white or calico hunting shirt, 
which was confined round the loins by a red sash ornamented 
with beads, & they had similar ones round their heads, to 
which were added feathers, and they wore short red sashes 
on their arms, above the elbow. It was a beautiful exhibition 
of activity, fleetness, skill & adroitness of motion. The game 
was six & after an hour & a half of great exertion on both 
sides the Christian party won, the other side only counting 
two. Two of the christian party got wounded in the first & 
second games & their places were supplied by others who 
came on to the ground for that purpose. Before the game 
commenced, an old chief addressed the fourteen young men 
when assembled in the centre of the field for commencing 
the game. He stated the laws of the game & reminded them 
that it was expected, they would not intentionally injure each 
other, or got in a passion, if a blow was accidentally given, 
& by no means to fight ; for it was disgraceful to quarrel 
when they met for amusement, & they must bear in mind 
that not only all their friends & the chiefs of the nation were 
present & several distinguished white men, who would 
closely watch their conduct. The squaws did not come into 
the field, but were scattered in little groups along the edge 


of the woods & behind the fences. They however, took great 
interest in the spot, for many of them had walked from 
four to six miles to witness it & the game did not end until 
dark. The men were very much excited those belonging 
to the two parties of Pagan & Christians, were constantly 
calling on the young men by name to stop, strike, or propel 
the ball to the opposite goal, & when it was driven between 
the two staffs, a loud & hilarious shout rent the air from 
friends of the victorious side. 

I have now seen a large portion of this reservation & 
there is not a more excellent tract of land in this section of 
the state. It is quite level, there being large tracts of bottom 
land, & the remainder is gently undulating. If it was occu- 
pied by good white farmers it would become a beautiful re- 
gion of country ; & the various sinuous branches of the Buf- 
falo Creek afforded many sites for mills, while the forest 
trees, of gigantic growth, which are scattered on their bank 
give a picturesque & most pleasing aspect to the scenery. 
This reservation will be the garden of the City of Buffalo. 
It will furnish the vegetables, fruit, hay, beef, pork, butter, 
milk, mutton, poultry, & other articles of food, besides fur- 
nishing sites for various manufactories. In 25 years the 
whole tract will be worth at least 100 dollars' per acre. & 
there will be two or three large villages upon it, if the In- 
dians conclude to remove west ; & if they do not, their 
wretchedness & degredation will be lamentable & pitiable. 

The Council was in session from 12 until after sunset. 
Mr. Gillet addressed the Chiefs for three hours in the ratifi- 
cation of mistakes made by some of the chiefs in debate & in 
illustration of former treaties, the kind of tytle which the 
Indians had to their lands & the nature of the stipulations in 
the amended treaty, for their benefit &c. &c. During his 
speech, there were many white men, who were actively en- 
gaged in about the council house, in conversation with the 
Indians, & several of the most active of the latter, who are 
opposed to emigration, often went out & were seen in con- 
versation with individuals, who have been in daily attend- 
ance, and have made strenuous efforts to induce the Indians 
not to assent to the treaty. They are men, who either trade 


with the indians, to whom the latter are indebted, have mills 
on the reservation, purchase bark, boards, timber, shingles & 
wood, an have a canal of some miles out through the reser- 
vation to supply mills & factories with water from Buffalo 
Creek, or persons who are attempting to influence the in- 
dians, not to remove with the hope of being hired to be 
silent or take the opposite side of the question. 

When Mr. Gillet set down Big Kettle & Pierce stated 
that he talked too much & that they & their party had made 
up their minds not to go & did not wish to hear anything 
more on the subject & that unless the council was imme- 
diately brought to a close they should go home. A man by 
the name of Grovner,* brother-in-law to [blank in original] 
who cut the cannals & his mills & a factory upon it, got up 
& gave notice that he should address the Indians the next 
afternoon after the council [He] rose & contradict [ed] 
what he called the false statements & misrepresentations, 
which had been made by Mr. Gillet. The excitement among 
the spectators & the Indians was very great, at this time, 
when Mr. Gillet rose & informed the Indians, that no man, 
save the U. S. Commissioner & Agent, the Superintendent of 
Massachusetts & the Chiefs of the Council, had a right to 
speak in that house, or should he permit it, & went into a full 
defence of his conduct, as an officer of the government & of 
his private character, against the false insinuations of 

I then rose & made a speech. I informed the Indians of 
the position I held, stated what were rights of Massachusetts 
under the articles of the agreement with the State of New 
York. That the council was like a diplomatic Congress, 
three distinct states or nations being there present to nego- 
ciate treaties, in conformity to the Constitution & laws of 
the U. S. & the states of New York & Mass & that no person 
other than the parties named had any right to speak in the 
Council House to the Indians, while the Council was in ses- 
sion or at any other time. That the questions to be con- 

* The allusion is apparently to one of the Grosvenors, and his brother-in-law- 
Reuben B. Heacock. The latter was foremost in organizing the Hydraulic 
Company, that utilized the waters of Buffalo Creek for milling purposes. 
Reuben B. Heacock died Apr. 7, 1854, aged 65. 


sidered, were, not such in any manner or form, as authorized 
any person, not officially present to take a part in the deliber- 
ations, & that who ever attempted so to do so was commit- 
ting a gross violation of the laws of nations. & the Con- 
stitution & laws of the Union, & those of the states of Mas. & 
New York as well as presumptuously interfering with the 
rights & business of others, which to say the least was a 
gross violation of the principles of justice, as well as of that 
comity & decency of deportment which the customs of so- 
ciety have established for the regulation of the conduct of 

I informed the audience that by the 9th. article of the 
agreement with New York Massachusetts had the right & 
would if necessary exercise the power of surrounding the 
Council House with armed forces, to protect the persons 
there engaged in deliberations in relation to the Indians & 
the land on which they reside. I stated that I had accepted 
the appointment under which I appeared, with the intention 
of faithfully discharging my duties to the state & Indians. 
That the very object of my being present was to see that the 
indians were not imposed upon, by any false or erronious 
statements, & that full & ample justice was done them; & if 
the U. S. Commissioners made any assertion which was not 
in accordance with treaty stipulations, or the nature of the 
promises, and engagements of the government, or the char- 
acter of the land, climate &c. of the west offered as a new- 
residence for the Indians, I should endeavor to have all the 
subjects clearly presented & understood, so far as it was in 
my power to accomplish that object. That during my whole 
life I had felt a deep interest, for the Indians & was most 
solicitous that their condition should be ameliorated, and 
that their future destinies might be prosperous & happy ; 
that I had taken pains to investigate their tytle to the lands 
in this state, the nature of the provisions of the treaty then 
under consideration & the character of the country, which 
was offered in the Indian Territory, was as capable of ap- 
preciating the terms & conditions of the treaty, as any of the 
persons who volunteered their services to enlighten the 
chiefs, whether actuated bv disinterested motives, or other 


considerations. I observed that I was determined to" main- 
tain the rights of Massachusetts & firmly & faithfully & fear- 
lessly discharge my duty, let the consequences be what they 
may to me personally ; that neither the glare of the toma- 
hawk, or the crack of the rifle would deter me from acting 
in the manner which the occasion required. 

This is but a brief sketch of the remarks I made, & the 
Indians & spectators retired quietly. I learned afterwards, 
that, save three or four interested men, all the persons pres- 
ent approved of the conduct of Mr. Gillet & myself as did 
nearly the whole of the Chiefs, & that no other effort will be 
made to disturb the Council. 

September n. There was a third attempt last night by 
two men, to set fire to the council house. One of the two 
men who guard it saw a person near the south eastern cor- 
ner, & fired upon him, a charge of bird shot, he ran & was 
pursued to a fence, where a second discharge of shot was 
given, as the watchman had a double barreled gun. As the 
fugitive was getting over the fence, he was seized by the 
collar, when he struck the watchman with a club & escaped 
into a corn field before the other watchman got up to aid in 
taking the incendiary, the other man ran from under some 
trees near where the first named stood. It is overcast this 
morning & a storm of rain appears to be threatened. Sent a 
letter to my wife yesterday of eight pages. 

The Seneca Mountain Town. 

Mr. Cone, the Tonawanda Indian informs me, that there 
was a tradition among the Senecas, that their nation was at 
one period established in a large village on a high hill, with a 
spacious broad flat top, near the southern end of Seneca 
Lake ; & to more effectually defend their commanding posi- 
tion, the sides of the hill were cleared of all the trees & 
shrubs, so that an enemy could not advance without being 
exposed to view & attack ; and to render the defence still 
more complete, large logs were collected on the summit to 
be rolled down upon any force that might attempt to ascend 
the height. 

After many years of a prosperous & peaceful occupation 


of this hill, an enormous serpent came out of the lake & so 
vast was his size & length that he was enabled to entirely 
surround its base, so as to preclude a passage, to the foot for 
the purpose of hunting & to the lake for taking fish. The 
mouth of the serpent was open fronting the top of the hill & 
so large was it that the indians considered it a passage or 
kind of gateway through which they could pass & thus ef- 
fect their escape & many ran into it & thus perished. The 
distress at length became so great for the want of provisions, 
that it was found the whole tribe would die of hunger, when 
one night a young man dreamed, that if he made a bow of 
hickory and an arrow of willow, which was to be tiped with 
hair from the private parts of his sister, instead of feathers, 
he could slay the monster & having procured the prescribed 
materials, he shot the arrow into his body which however 
only barely went through the skin ; but as he moved from 
the pain the wound occasioned it worked gradually in until 
it pierced his heart, when he soon died in violent convulsions, 
& the blood which issued from his mouth was so great that 
it formed a large pond in which the snake putrified and there 
is now a morass covered with trees, in which it is believed 
his bones may be discovered. 

For the mountain residence of the Senecas, & from 
whence they date the origin of their nation, their original 
name was Jo-no-do-wan or Great Mountain, but it ultimately 
was changed to Non-do- wan-gan which is the present In- 
dian name of the Tribe. 

The whole of the six nations until some years after the 
white people came to Canada & New York, were but one 
tribe, and were called the Jo-no-do-wans. Their chief settle- 
ments were in the valley of the Genesee river & the prin- 
cipal town in Avon. Annually after the squaws had planted 
the corn, the greatest portion of the tribe, went out to the 
various large lakes to fish & hunt, until the corn was ripe. 
During this period the small pox was introduced into the 
town & so fatal were its ravages, that nearly the whole of 
those, who remained at home perished, and when a few of 
the Indians who had been absent returned in September, 
they found only two or three men & women, & as many chil- 


dren alive, while the dead were festering unburied in the 
houses & streets & fields. The spectacle was so appalling 
that they immediately went back & gave notice to the several 
bands of the calamitous event, & such was the terror pro- 
duced from the ravages of this new & destructive disease 
that each of [the] bands determined to establish towns where 
they had encamped during the fishing & hunting season. 
These were on Seneca, Cayuga, & Oneida lakes, Mohawk 
river & Onondaga valley, and they at last became distinct & 
independent nations, but united as the six nations for their 
common safety & defence. When the white people began to 
trade with them, they called each tribe the name of the lakes 
rivers & valleys where they chiefly resided; but the tribes 
have each a name entirely different from those, by which 
they are known to each other.* 

The council met at twelve & adjourned at two, in con- 
sequence of the sudden & severe illness of Mr. Strong the 
Interpreter's father, who is a Chief from Cattaragus. Mr. 
Gillet made a speech for the purpose of correcting various 
errors which some of the chiefs had committed as to facts & 
principles. Mr. Gillet here stated to the Chiefs, that he had 
the written opinion of Mr. Harris & Mr. Mand of the Indian 
Bureau in the War Department as to the effect which the 
non assent to the amendments of the treaty would have ; & 
that if they refused to ratify it, the contracts for the sale of 
their reservations would be binding upon them, & that they 
would thus be deprived of their lands here without having 
secured others in the west. 

I then rose & observed that it was the opinion of the 
Governor of Massachusetts, that as the contract for the sale 
of the reservations to Ogden & fellows was made simul- 
taneously, they were under the peculiar circumstances, in 
which the negotiations were conducted, to be considered as 
dependent on each other & as one transaction ; that the In- 
dians would not have consented to the sale of all their lands 

* There are certain resemblances between this tradition, as related by Cone, 
and "The Origin of the Kingdom of the Five Nations," in David Cusick's 
"Ancient History of the Six Nations," first published in 1825; but here, as else- 
where in his journals, Gen. Dearborn's spelling of Indian words is independent 
of all authorities. 


in the state of New York, if they had not at the same time 
obtained others in the west, & if from any cause the treaty 
was not completely ratified, either by an assent of the Chiefs 
to the amendmends of the Senate, or a recession of the Sen- 
ate from the amendments & the original treaty ratified by 
that body, in the manner, which, it had been represented, 
had been done on other occasions, they would be without a 
home, which was not contemplated, by the Indians, at the 
time the two arrangements were made. The Governor did 
not undertake to decide that his construction of the treaty 
& contracts was correct, for that was a subject for great con- 
sideration & must ultimately depend on a judicial decision, 
of the courts of the United States. 

Mr. Gillet then proceeded, & stated that the chiefs now 
knew the opinions of the officers of the general government 
& of the Governor of Mas. & they were to decide, as to 
whether it was safe or not, to act on the belief of the correct- 
ness of either view of the subject ; but in the event the treaty 
was not assented to now, or hereafter ratified by the Senate, 
as originally executed, & it should be decided by the courts, 
that the contracts for the sale of their lands were valid, not- 
withstanding, the responsibility of the chiefs, who signed the 
treaty & contracts, & now should refuse to' assent to the 
amendments would be very great ; for they will have nego- 
tiated for the sale of the whole of their lands here, & refused 
or neglected to provide a home in the Indian Territory, for 
their future & permanent residence, & thus leave the whole 
nation without any place of residence, or the means of sup- 

Evening. There was a meeting of the chiefs who are 
opposed to the treaty, in the Council House after the ad- 
journment of the council, and the questions under considera- 
tion were discussed. There was also a meeting of a number 
of the opposition chiefs yesterday morning at the house 
of Billy Jones one of the chiefs who lives on this reservation 
near the church, and were addressed by [blank in original] 
who attempted to induce a belief that all the statements 
which had been made by Mr. Gillet were false or deceptive 
& erronious, as is reported by persons who were present. 


Such conduct is infamous, for the motive is, to retain the 
advantages which the individuals, who are urging the Indi- 
ans not to ratify the treaty, now enjoy, from the mills they 
have built or occupy on the reservations, & the lumber & 
bark which they obtain therefrom. The objects for which 
they are seeking, are selfish, & they are willing to deceive 
& thus prevent the indians from embracing the liberal & 
munificent offers of the government. Such baseness is un- 
paralleled in my intercourse with man-kind. Assuming to 
be the special friends of the Indians, these poor, ignorant & 
prejudiced people are deluded and made to distrust the U. S. 
Commissioners & myself, — the national government even, 
who have no other aim or desire than to do the greatest pos- 
sible benefit to the miserable remnant of a tribe which is fast 
sinking into the most degraded condition & must soon be- 
come extinct, if they do not remove to the west. 

I took a walk with Mr. Gillet half an hour before sunset 
up the bank of the creek to see Mr. Strong the sick chief & 
then crossed the creek & went to Gruses house on the hill, 
southwest from the onondaga Council House; he being a 
chief & also sick. We walked about three miles. 

I have read, since I have been . here Oliver Twist & 
Nicholas Nickleby by Boz. alias Charles Dickens author of 
the Pick-Wick Papers &c. the 5th vol. of the 3d series of the 
Massachusetts historical Society & Homeward Bound by 
Cooper author of the Spy, Pilot, Red Rover &c. and "La 
Levitiene de Montfermeil, by Ch. Paul De Kock. 

A Tradition of the Chief Doctor of the Senecas, as to 
the Medicine he uses for Wounds, Bruises & all 
Vulnerary Purposes, related to me by Cone. 

It was the custom long before the Revolutionary War, 
for parties of from twenty, fifty & a hundred Indians to make 
excursions into Ohio for the purpose of signalizing their 
vallor, by killing small parties of their enemies, & plundering 
the exposed settlements. In one of these expeditions, the 
party was unexpectedly overtaken, during its return, by a 
large body of warriors when a bloody engagement ensued, 
in which manv of the Senecas were slain. One of the scouts 


on his return to the nation gave the following account of 
himself. As he was retreating before the victorious band 
which had slain & defeated his corps he was knocked down 
as he supposed by a war-club ; but soon after came to his 
senses, & finding many of his dead companions scattered 
near him, & neither friend or enemy in sight, he took the 
route which he presumed they had pursued home, & over- 
took them the next day ; but to his great astonishment, no 
one replied to his salutations or appeared to notice or even 
see him ; and after in vain attempting to enter into conversa- 
tion, for the purpose of ascertaining the cause of their cold 
neglect, he concluded to return to his village, which he 
reached the third [day] but to his utter surprise neither his 
wife children or friends spoke to him or took the least notice 
of what he said or did. He was in despair & went from 
house to house, to see if no one would recognize, know, or 
speak to him, but he was entirely disregarded & did not seem 
to be perceived. 

In deep affliction for his neglected & painful situation he 
determined to return to the battle ground where so many of 
his companions, were slain & be united with them in death, & 
on arriving at the place of the action there were many dead 
indians all of whom had been scalped, while wandering 
among the slain he discovered a corps, which seemed to so 
much resemble himself, that he began at last to believe it was 
his own body & that it was only his spirit which had been 
with his own party family & friends, which was the reason 
they could not see him. Scarcely had he come to this con- 
clusion, when his spirit again entered his body. Not long 
after he heard the most delightful songs, but was incapable 
of moving or opening his eyes; There appeared to be nu- 
merous voices & the singing was the most curious & interest- 
ing he had ever listened to. The sound, however, did not 
appear to be like that proceeding from human lips, so in- 
finitely different were they in tone & compass, & yet more 
sweet and harmonious. At last he was enabled to open his 
eyes, but could not speak or move. He was astonished to 
find, that the music he heard, was made by all the kinds of 
birds & other animals of the forest from the smallest wren 


to the eagle, from the little striped squirrel to the deer & 
bear, which had formed a circle around him, some being on 
the ground & others sitting on the trees, or flying about in 
the air. 

Suddenly they all ceased singing & there was a consulta- 
tion, as to the expediency of restoring him to life by the 
means of a most remarkable & powerful medicine which was 
described ; to this the wolf and catamount objected, for, they 
observed, he will become a hunter & we shall all be subject 
to be killed by his hand, — no, replied the turtle dove, he will 
become a peaceful benefactor of his nation & hereafter de- 
vote his time, to medicine & be enabled to render assistance 
to the wounded & sick, in a manner more successful than 
was ever known before, for he will hear the names of the 
ingredients which we intend to use in the liquid for curing 
his wound & restoring him to life & perfect health, As all 
the other animals except the wolf & the catamount concurred 
in the generous opinion of the turtle dove, it was determined, 
that some of their number should prepare the medicine, 
while one of the birds, should go in search of his scalp, 
which had been taken & carried off by one of the indians 
who had attacked & defeated his war party. The crane im- 
mediately volunteered his services, for the latter duty, as he 
was swift of wing & could scent flesh & blood a greater dis- 
tance than any other bird, & was accordingly dispatched in 
pursuit of the victorious band. During his absence the 
dead indian heard those, who were preparing the medicine, 
name over the various articles, which were, combined in a 
fine powder & put into one of those curious leaves, which is 
called Adams cup. 

The Crane soon returned with the scalp, which he found 
suspended on the top of the chimney of the hut in which the 
chief lived who had taken it, where it had been placed, to be 
dried & smoked, according to the Indian custom, that it may 
be preserved as a trophy of valor. The scalp was first 
soaked soft in a spring of pure water, and then being care- 
fully sprinkled with the liquid medicine it was applied to the 
head, which had also been bathed for some time with the 
same wonderful specific. In a short time the Indian was 


enabled to sit up, but was so feeble from loss of blood & the 
want of food that he could not speak, when the wolf was 
dispatched, for venison, & it was not long before he returned 
with a quarter of a fawn, that he had slain. The birds & 
other animals then all disappeared, after having sang a 
peculiar kind of song which was indispensable to render the 
operation of the medicine complete, & restore the patient to 
perfect health. 

As soon as the Indian was left alone, he found his 
strength so much increased, that he was able to get up, & 
having kindled a fire, broiled small pieces of the venison, 
which he eat with a greedy appetite, & then laid down & 
went to sleep. When he awoke he found himself perfectly 
well & strong & set off on his return home. On his arrival 
he related the miraculous circumstances of his death & resto- 
ration to life. Having determined to attempt the prepara- 
tion of the medicine by which he had been cured, he set off 
on a hunt to procure the ingredients. They were small por- 
tions of the brains of a certain number of birds & other 
animals, & one kernal of corn from an ear which was to be 
found growing alone on a single stalk in the midst of the 
forest, an a seed from a little rough skin squash, which also 
was to be procured from a vine that was to be discovered in 
the wilderness, far from any settlement. The brains of the 
different annimals were obtained in a few days, but he tra- 
versed the wilderness six months in search of the corn & 

At last one night after he had eaten his supper, & lied 
down to sleep, he was roused by the song which he heard at 
the time he was raised from the dead. It was bright moon- 
light night & the notes came swelling on the gentle breeze 
through the vast forest in the most melodious & enchanting 
manner ; but he was directed in one of the verses not to 
move from his camp until morning. The singing continued 
until day-light. As soon as the sun rose he set off in the 
direction from whence the sounds of the song came and 
found the desired stalk of corn growing within a small circle 
of level ground in which there was not a weed, or a spear of 
grass, & it appeared as clear as if it had been smoothed by a 


rake, all around the circle for a considerable distance were 
the tracks or marks made by the birds & other animals 
which had been there assembled, during the night. Having 
taken the single ear of corn which grew upon the isolated 
stalk the Indian returned to his village. One kernel of the 
corn when finely pulverized was sufficient to impart the sani- 
tary & healing virtues, with which it had been endowed by 
the Great Spirit to a large quantity of the other ingredients. 
The Indian who was so fortunate as to obtain this invaluable 
medicine, soon became the most distinguished Doctor of the 
tribe, from the great cures he effected of wounds received in 
battle & in other modes, as well as cases of extraordinary 
pains & diseases. & ever since it has been continued to be 
administered by one man in the tribe to whom the right & 
power of preparing it has been transmitted.* 

At present this Indian is John Tuky & resides on the 
Cataraugus reservation. He has several agents in each of 
the four reservations who are supplied with the medicine in 
the form of a very fine powder, a minute portion of which 
is put into a vessel of water with which the wound, or part 
of the body in pain is bathed & the remainder is drank by 
the patient. In ten days from the time of its application, a 
dance is held at the house of the injured or sick person, by 
the agents, who administer the medicine. & the ceremony 
is closed by a feast which is kept up all night, which is given 
to them, by the friends of the patient. One application of 
the medicine only is made & is considered infallible. 

The kernals of the ear of corn having been all used up 
about sixty years since, the Doctor whose special privilege it 
was to prepare the medicine, went in search of another, an 
one of the equally efficacious squashes. After a search of 
many months in the mountainous wilderness of the Alle- 
ghanies, he found, a squash vine growing by itself, & the 
seeds of that have been nearly all used, so that there is great 
anxiety lest another ear of the sacred corn or one of the 
squashes should not be found. 

* There is nothing resembling this legend in Cusick's "Six Nations." None 
of the "Legends of the Iroquois" attributed to "The Cornplanter" and published 
by William W. Canfield in 1902 correspond with it; nor has it been found else- 
where by the editor of this volume. 


Alas poor human nature. The credulity of man will 
never cease. The marvelous always is imposing & quacks 
flourish in our largest cities. 

Mr. Cone three years since had an affection of one of his 
eyes which was very painful. After being attended by a 
physician for some time without relief recourse was had, by 
his parents to the Great Indian Doctor of Cattaraugus. His 
shirt was sent for the Doctor to sleep upon & he was able the 
next day to state how long he had suffered, & that the in- 
flamation was caused by a portion of spider's web getting 
into the eye when he was walking in the woods ; the cause 
of the disease, however Mr. Cone did not know. The sacred 
medicine was administered & he was relieved soon after from 
much of the pain he had suffered. In ten days the dance was 
performed in his room, in time the innamation subsided, but 
the eye perished. 

The Council met at half past 12 & adjourned at 4. 
Pierce of Cattaraugus read some extracts from a congres- 
sional speech as to the second removal of the Cherokees, Mr. 
Gillet & myself explained that transaction & I gave an ac- 
count of Mr. Jefferson's friendly disposition & policy in re- 
lation to the Indians ; — the advancement made by the Chero- 
kees in civilization ; — the invention of an alphabet by Sa- 
quai-ga, the establishment of a printing office & the publica- 
tion of a newspaper & books in the Cherokee language & 
that alphabet, & the improvements made in agriculture, & 
the mechanic arts, & the introduction of wheels & looms foj 
spinning & weaving; thus illustrating the practicability of 
the amelioration of the degraded condition of the indians. 
Jimerson & Black-Kettle spoke, & complained that the 
Commissioner & myself unnecessarily prolonged the Coun- 
cil, to which I replied. Mr. Strong the interpreter made a 
few remarks in reply to Pierce. Just before sunset I went 
with Mr. Gillet into the forest & we walked two miles for 
exercise. There was a Corn Feast at Jack Berry's town this 
day & a dance in the evening. 

Sep 14. A superb morning. Mr. Cone informed me yes- 
terday that the Indians were very superstitious, especially 
the pagan portion of the tribe. 


There are now two great prophets, in the tribe, one re- 
siding on the Tonnawanda reservation by the name of Han- 
ne-yat-hoo, & the other Ne-an-wis-tan-an on this. The for- 
mer states that there are four angels which are annually 
sent to him by the great spirit, whose special duty it is to 
take charge of the Seneca Indians, & that they inform him 
of what errors the Indians fall into, the vices they indulge in 
& the crimes they commit & what it is necessary for them to 
do to please the great spirit, & prevent the calamities which 
will befall the nation unless there is a reformation in conduct. 
He has recently told the Tonnawanda indians, that a terrible 
sickness was coming from the rising sun, which would ex- 
terminate them unless they had a great feast & dance & all 
took a particular kind of medicine, which he had been in- 
structed how to prepare. This has been done & the indians 
are now safe from the disasterous evils, with which they 
were threatened. An easy & cheap mode of being saved 
from the ravages of a sweeping pestilence. These self made 
Prophets are cunning men & ever have been in all ages & 
nations ; they either put off the evil so far, that no one 
dreads the ills prognosticated, — or bring it so near that their 
own power is made manifest, in arresting the wrath of the 
almighty: — The one gives a mysterious & awful dignity to 
their character & the other insures confidence in their super- 
natural powers. Man is thus taxed, by the cunning & lazy, 
and reverence is paid to rascals, who should be lashed into 
labor for their support, instead of being permitted to roam 
about the country to alarm the weak & foolish & live on their 
industry. Since the days of the Phareos, prophets have 
gulled the people, both civilized & savage; even the chris- 
tians have ever & anon remarkable prophets among all the 
various sects, from the Pope down to the meanest villain 
who calls himself a missionary to the lost sinners. Why 
then should not the poor indian, the ignorant savage have 
the consolation of prophets, to threaten them with all the 
horrors of famine pestilence & war, & then give joy to the 
affrighted wretches, by the power of averting the wrath of 
God. It is a delightful kind of moral shower bath. — the 
dark of terror & then the exhilerating flow of comfort when 


the shock is over. Little children are we ; to be alarmed & 
quieted, by a nursery tale. God forgive all villains & fools 
& save us from their rascality & errors. 

The illustrious prophet of this reservation, [blank in 
original]* dreams like the patriarchs of old & sees visions. 
Since the question of emigrating to the west has been agi- 
tated in the tribe, & very recently this learned pagan, reports 
that he went to hell, in one of his spiritual nocturnal excur- 
sions. He passed over an immense prarie & at the distant 
end beheld an enormous stone edifice, without doors or win- 
dows, but the guide, who accompanied him, — being a special 
messenger from the Great Spfirit] knocked against the wall 
& instantly an opening was made, from which issued a blaze 
that ascended hundreds of feet above the roofs, & he beheld 
within huge potash kettles, filled with boiling oil & moulten 
lead, & there were the wicked rising & falling & tumbling 
over in the bubling fluids, & ever & anon as the heads of 
some were thrown above the top of kettles they gave a horrid 
yell & down they plunged again. There he was told would 
be punished all the chiefs who advocated emigration. But 
the Indian Hell, among all the tribes, has this advantage, 
over that, which most of our pious & merciful clergymen 
have so liberally contrived for the christian disciples, — there 
is a term to all the awful punishments inflicted on even the 
most hardened sinner, the offences being atoned for by a 
shorter or longer boil, according to their greater or less 
henious character ; & finally all go to heaven & hunt & dance 
& eat & enjoy themselves in the vast praries & forests of the 
Great Spirit's dominions except witches & for them they 
have imitated the justness & intelligence of the most civil- 
ized nations of christians, & leave them simmering in hell 
for all eternity. But still there is a good chance for them, — 
for as the offence is imaginary, & no positive evil is actually 
done, the Great Spirit may allow them to take the great 

* It is not clear who filled the role of prophet among the Senecas at this 
date. Handsome Lake, founder of what is known as the Pagan belief now ob- 
served by most non-Christians of the Six Nations, died at Onondaga in 1815. 
His grandson Sase-he-wa, otherwise known as James (oftener as '"Jimmy") 
Johnson, also a prophet, died about 1830. 


Peace Path to Heaven, without even a halt at the inconveni- 
ent half way house of hell. 

Evening. The Council met at half past 12 & Bennet, a 
chief from the Cattaraugus reservation, commenced a 
speech in reply to personal charges made against him the 
day before, by I. Jimmenson. He had got through with his 
defence & was proceeding in remarks that were perfectly 
correct & unobjectionable having no offensive import on the 
conduct of the chiefs who signed the treaty & the contracts 
for the sale of the land at the Council last winter, when he 
was rudely interupted by an insolent & ill-mannered young 
chief by the name of Pierce.* Bennet observed that those 
chiefs who had agreed in the sale of the land & now refused 
to assent to the amended treaty, were in fact depriving the 
indians of their home here & preventing them from obtain- 
ing that which was so generously offered by the national 
government. Pierce charged him with stating falsehoods, & 
when called to order by the Commissioner & directed to be 
seated, that he could answer Bennet when he had finished 
his speech, he insolently replied that he would not sit down & 
that he would interupt him or the commissioners either when 
he chose ; that he was not to be put down. I then observed 
that the commissioner presided in the council & that in con- 
formity to the rules for the government of all deliberative 
bodies, no one was to be interupted in debate, in the rude & 
unwarrantable manner he had attempted, & that if he did 
not sit down & be silent he would be put out of the council. 

* This was possibly Maris B. Pierce, a Seneca chief of good education, who 
had attended Dartmouth College, and a speaker and writer of no little force. 
Some days before this outbreak, on Tuesday evening, Aug. 28, 1838, he gave 
a public address in the Baptist Church of Buffalo. The Commercial Advertiser' s 
report of it said: "The main object seemed to be to show that the operation of 
the late treaty with the Senecas, if it be carried into effect, would be injurious 
to their improvement as a people, and decidedly opposed to their pecuniary in- 
terests. Upon this topic he dwelt with much earnestness, and at considerable 
length." The address was published in pamphlet form in Philadelphia in 1839, 
with the following title: "Address on the present condition and prospects of 
the Aboriginal Inhabitants of North America, with particular reference to the 
Seneca Nation. Delivered at Buffalo, New York, by M. B. Pierce, a chief of 
the Seneca Nation, and a member of Dartmouth College." Pierce was one of 
the most ardent opponents of the proposed removal of his people. Fisher Pierce, 
a Seneca from Cattaraugus, was active in the councils of his people at this time, 
and it may have been he, and not Maris, who was guilty of the disturbance. 


Mr. Gillet then called on the old chief Captain Pollard, 
who had attended all the Councils since that held by Col. 
Pickering at Canadagua, to state what was the practice as to 
the mode of conducting the debates. I. Jimenson then got 
up & in a passionate tone said Capt. Pollard should not speak 
& Big Kettle arose & in a furious manner, began to abuse 
the Commissioner & me, when Jimenson bound from his 
seat & rushed upon the venerable Pollard who was standing 
near the table at which we were sitting & pushed him toward 
his seat in a wrathful manner. Col. White a gentleman 
from Chataque county who sat near, started up & took hold 
of Capt. Pollard, to prevent him from falling & at the same 
time seized Jimenson. Black Kettle then ran towards White 
& took hold of him while Jimenson took Mr. Strong the in- 
terpreter by the throat, & crushed him down upon the table 
on which he was leaning in front of me. The war whoop 
was then given by the partisans of those rash & desperate 
chiefs & the whole rushed forward to where the Commis- 
sioner & I sat & their leaders were in a furious manner using 
the most threatening language ; Mr. Gillet & myself rose & 
attempted to restore order, & after considerable difficulty 
they took their seats, when we both addressed them on the 
disgraceful impropriety of their conduct. " We then con- 
sulted as to the propriety of the course to be pursued & con- 
cluded to adjourn the council until monday & in the mean- 
time procure the aid of the civil authority, & if necessary a 
military force to call on Col Crane of the U. S. Army who 
commanded at Buffalo. This determination was announced 
by the Interpreter & the council adjourned to monday at 
eleven oclock. 

When we got to our lodging, we called in the Indian 
Agent, Judge Stryker, & consulted what it was expedient to 
do in such an unprecedented conjuncture of affairs ; & it was 
determined that the High Sheriff of the County should be 
requested to attend with a sufficient number of deputies & 
constables to preserve order in the Council & protect us from 
outrage & insult & to request Col. Crane who commanded 
the U. S. troops at Buffalo to inform us, whether, in the 
event a military force should be required, he would send out 


a company, to be encamped in the vicinity, for the purpose of 
supporting the civil officers should it be required, and that 
Mr. Strong should go into Buffalo to make complaint be- 
fore a magistrate against Jimenson for an assault & have 
him arrested & bound over to keep the peace. These meas- 
ures were carried into effect forthwith. Strong went to the 
city & fortunately the sheriff soon after arrived & he 
promptly promised to be here on monday, with a civil power 
sufficient to maintain order, if possible & I wrote to Col. 
Crane to ascertain whether he would cooperate, if requested 
by Mr. Gillet & myself. 

At dusk Seneca White & Little Johnson called as a depu- 
tation from the opposition chiefs, who had conducted in such 
an infamous manner, to state that they intended to meet on 
monday, at the Council House in Jack Berry's town, for the 
purpose of inquiring into the conduct of the refractory 
chiefs. Mr. Gillet informed them he expected they would 
meet to morrow, in the Council House here, with all the 
other chiefs to deliberate on a transaction so disgraceful to 
the nation ; that it was no party question, but one which in- 
volved the reputation of all the chiefs, & that they were 
bound in honor to themselves & the Seneca tribe, to meet in 
open council & make a proper example of the lawless & des- 
perate chiefs, who had so grossly insulted the Commissioner 
& Superintendent of Mas.ts, & the government of the United 
States & that which the latter represented. They appeared 
much ashamed of the conduct of their party & said they 
would report, what had been said to them. Thus the affair 
stands this evening. I wrote the Governor this foreno'on, 
before this disgraceful transaction was consummated. 

Sep. 15. A glorious morning. There was a splendid 
exhibition of the aurora borealis last evening at nine oclock, 
extending from the N. E. to the S. W. & reaching the zenith, 
the coruscations were vivid from a dark space near the hori- 
zon, & shot up in collums of great width & brightness. In 
the eastern section there was a blood red tint, reaching from 
the top of the dark space half way to the zenith & extending 
for several degrees, like the reflection of a distant fire. In the 
south west, were horizontal flashes which came out in waves 



towards the east & preceded the aurora as it advanced 
towards the zenith; it resembled the winkling light which 
the heat-lightning, as it is called, presents, — the reflection of 
a distant thunder shower; but evidently was caused in the 
manner as the common auroras which illumine our northern 
nightly skies. I concluded a letter to my dear wife this 
morning of 8 pages, closely written over margins & all. I 
was a little oppressed night before last from eating cabbage ; 
but by fasting on tea yesterday, I am pretty well this morn- 

Situation of the Council House* : 


The Council House is in a beautiful grove on the bank 
of the Buffalo Creek, containing about seven acres. I have 
noticed the following variety of trees some of which are at 
least 90 feet high & four feet through at the but: Slipery 

* On the location of the Seneca and Onondaga council houses, see Henry 
R. Howland's paper on "The Seneca Mission at Buffalo Creek," Buffalo His- 
torical Society Publications, Vol. VI., pp. 127-128. Gen. Dearborn's rough 
sketch herewith is the only drawing or diagram known which shows the relative 
positions of the river, the highway and the buildings indicated thereon. 


Elm, Weeping Elm, Button Wood, Basswood, Black Wal- 
nut, Butternut, Hickory, Rock Maple, White Maple, Tulip 
tree Wild native apple, Hawthorn & numerous shrubs & 
herbaceous flowers. There are three hundred or more 
trees in the grove, which render it a most picturesque & in- 
teresting place, with the groups of Indians laying under the 
trees, with each a little fire kindled in an old stump, or a 
dead log, or a little pile of dry bark & roots, to light their 
pipes; & among them white men & women walking about. 

Afternoon, there being no Council this day, I have writ- 
ten the Governor a letter of 8 pages & Mr. Bigelow Secre- 
tary of State one of three pages. I walked from 12 to quar- 
ter past one, in the forest, north of the Buffalo road. I am 
reading in the vol. of State Papers, the documents in relation 
to the Indians of this state. The written speeches of Corn- 
planter to Genl. Washington in 1790 are elegant & superior 
to any other indian communication I ever read. I found in 
the written speech of Corn-planter, Half-Town & Big Tree 
sent to General Washington Dec 29. 1790 that they called 
him the Town-Destroyer, & in reading Procters Journal, to 
Buffalo Creek, to hold a treaty with the Senecas, Washing- 
ton was called by the Indians The Great Chief, Ho-non-da- 
ga-ni-us. This evening I asked Cone, my young Tonna- 
wanda friend, what was the meaning of that name, & he 
said it was, Town Destroyer ; but that it now meant Presi- 
dent of the United States whoever the individual was, & 
had been thus used, through all the administrations, since 
Washingtons. Thus we see how a name given to designate 
a man, at last designates the office he held, who ever might 
be ocupent. 

The reason for the name, was this. Genl. Sullivan, in 
his expedition against the Indians of New York, during the 
Revolution, was ordered to burn all the towns & destroy all 
the corn, which was fully done, & the whole of the indian 
settlements, to Genesee river, were laid waste. Washington 
being Commander in Chief & then the head of the nation, the 
Indians, in the true Grecian & Roman stvle, ^ave him the 
significant name of Ho-non-da-ga-ni-us or Town Destroyer. 

I received a letter from Col. Crane this evening, inform- 


ing me that Genl Macomb* had arrived at Buffalo, & that he 
had laid my letter of yesterday before him, and that he was 
authorized to inform me that a military force would be sent 
here whenever requested ; so that now we have the most 
ample means to maintain order & compell the Indians to con- 
duct with propriety. 

There has been a warrant issued & the Sheriff has been 
out here to arrest Jimenson, but he has either secreted him- 
self or fled to Cattaraugus where he lives. There are many 
threats of violence from Big-Kettle & other chiefs ; but I do 
not apprehend the least difficulty in future in the Council. 
The power which it will be known we have at our command 
will insure tranquility. There is no more wise & safe mode of 
conducting, on all occasions than to be prepared to vindicate, 
defend & maintain any position which it is necessary to as- 
sume, & leave it not [to] the uncertainty of events. To be 
ready for, is the sure way to prevent difficulties. Peace is 
the prize of efficient power to command it. 

Sep. 1 6. There was a frost for the second time this 
season last night & the ground is white this morning, with 
the hoary messenger of stern Winter. 

Corn-Planter states, in his written speech to Washington 
of 1790, that, if he is determined to crush the indians, one 
chief has said, "he will retire to the Chateaugay, eat of the 
fatal root, & sleep with his fathers, in peace." I asked Cone 
what root was alluded to, & he informed it was of a plant, 
that grew on moist land, resembling the Skunk Cabbage, 
was sweet to the taste & that a small handful produced death. 
It tasted & smelt like the parsnip. He knew it well & had 
tasted of it. It was pleasant to eat. The effect was violent 
spasms, the head & body was drawn back with strong con- 
vulsions, as in the lock-jaw. He said he had known of sev- 
eral suisides from eating it. & was the only mode of self 
destruction among the Indians. Doct. Wilcox informed me 
two women at Cattaraugus had eaten the "fatal root," within 
two years, & died, one from disappointed love. Cone states 

* Major General Alexander Macomb, one of the successful generals of the 

War of 1812, was at this time (1838) commander-in-chief of the U. S. Army, 

which rank he held from 1835 till his death in 1841. He arrived in Buffalo, 
from Detroit, Sept. 12, 1838. 


that love unrequited was a common cause of suiside. He 
confirms, what several other persons both Indians & white 
men, — that the Indians are very licentious. There is no 
courtship or form of marriage & that either party may leave 
the other when they please & take another wife or husband 
the next hour. The girls are generally married at from 14 
to 17 years of age. They have little chastity among them, 
either among the married women or girls. The females are 
amerous & as often seek the men, as the latter them. It is a 
mere brute passion which brings the man & woman together. 
The men never notice the females in public, they neither 
accompany them to feasts & dances, speak to them there or 
wait upon them home. He thinks there are not ten chaste 
females in the whole Seneca nation, above 13 years of age. 

The idling of these people & their brutal intemperance is 
disgusting & inexcusable. Cone thinks that more than three 
quarters of the time of the men is taken up in feasts, dances, 
useless councils & other amusements, & in fact I am satisfied 
that but few ever work & most of them not one day in ten. 
As to improving their condition it is preposterous in their 
present settlement. They have no honor, pride, honesty, or 
dignity left. They unite all the vices of the indians to those 
of the lowest & basest of the whites. Chiefs are in this 
Council who are ragged & filthy as beyond the meanest beg- 
gars among the whites. There are not a dozen men in the 
nation who do not get drunk, whenever they can obtain 
spirit. The women work on the land & make bead work, 
brooms, baskets & other articles for sale & pick berries which 
they carry to market. They are generally well dressed. Hu- 
man nature can not appear more despicable than here & as 
to their being allowed to remain in this position & condition 
is out of the question. Humanity, more than policy demands 
that they should be placed in a position where they can be 
improved & the national government is bound to exercise its 
power firmly yet beneficently. They should be compelled to 
work, abandon all their idle cerimonies, be sober & receive 
instruction in the mechanical & agricultural arts, & taught 
to read & write. Let them be pagans until they have been 
made industrious & sober & then thev will become christians. 


No white people should be allowed to reside among them for 
any purpose, except as agents & instructors, under the direc- 
tion of the government of the United States. 

We compell the idle & intemperate to work, by confining 
them in alms houses, or in the tillage of lands connected with 
the alms-houses establishments. Why should these barbari- 
ans be allowed to wander about the country & be the pitiable 
vagrants of our towns. We are holding a treaty, with some 
80 Indians, three quarters of whom, are ragged, filthy, ignor- 
ant, lazy, drunken, & worthless wretches, — more degraded 
& debased than the vicious inmates of our most thronged 
poor houses, — for most of them, when sober, are sensible & 
capable of reason, & have some education; but these vaga- 
bonds, are as stupid as they are ignorant & base in character 
& conduct. It is a rediculous mockery of sovereignty, — a 
contemtable show of respect & gravity, to be treatying with 
men, who are incapable of comprehending the simplest 
statement; & who should be made to do, what the intelli- 
gence & kindness of the government, have deemed indispen- 
sable, for their comfort & moral elevation. How preposter- 
ous is it for such characters to be talking about their ancient 
rights their independence & customs. They are reduced to 
the lowest possible state of vice, & grovling dissipation & 
shameful idleness & appeal to the white people to leave them 
in a condition where they can indulge in all their debased & 
degrading habits, and ultimately to become the miserable and 
disgusting applicants for the means of subsistance, — begging 
not for food & rayment merely, but the means of getting 
beastly drunk & wallowing in the filth of our high-ways. Is 
it justice mercy, humanity, or christian like to leave a race 
of men thus depraved to themselves, to be a foul blot on the 
face of society, — a constant spectacle of misery which is as 
deleterious upon the habits of the whole people, with whom 
they comingle, as it is revolting to humanity & fatal to them- 
selves. The georgian knot must be cut & the laws & power 
of the nation substituted for this sham exercise of diplo- 
matic authority & respectful treatment towards a people, who 
are incapable of managing their own affairs & providing 
for their own means of subsistance. Thev are to be treated 


as children, by a kind & merciful & generous parent, be com- 
pelled to so conduct as to merit consideration esteem, respect 
& honor. 

I walked on the bank of the Creek for an hour or more 
after breakfast, & went up it nearly two miles, on the imme- 
diate shore or first bank. The water is very low being only 
a few inches deep any where. The whole would pass 
through a space 6 feet wide & three inches deep. The strata 
of slate stone which forms the bottom, is broken by nearly 
parallel fractures or seams, into lamina from 2 to 6 feet 
wide, which run from N. E. to S. W. & occasionally, there 
is a seam, which cuts the others obliquly, — their course 
being nearly east & west. There are small boulders on the 
shore, or flint & lime-stone, united in veins, as if moulten & 
run together. The day is magnificent, & my thoughts are 
far off, with my dear family, on the shore of the ocean. I 
hope soon to be able to be on my journey home. 

I walked with Mr. Gillet over to the Onondaga Council 
House, at four oclock where there has been a corn feast & 
dance all day. We remained about half an hour, our 
object in going was to convince the indians that threats 
would not intimidate, for it was reported to us that Big- 
Kettle had said he would tomahawk the Commissioner the 
first he met him. I went to see the aged sick woman, for 
whom I provided a doctor. She is fast recovering & sits up 
part of the day. She was glad to see me. I gave her a 
dollar to purchase biscuit & other articles of food. We got 
back by sunset. 

The dress of the squaws is as follows: A blue broad- 
cloth peticoat, with a border of white beads worked round 
the bottom from an inch to five inches wide or a strip of bead 
work up the front 2 to 3 inches in width. This is of one 
piece of cloth, united in front, & without a pleat. To confine 
it, there is a strong deer skin string tied round the wast just 
above the hips. They step into the peticoat & draw it up 
so as to be just above the ankles at the bottom, the belt is 
sliped up, & a fold being made in the top of the peticoat, on 
each hip, behind it is held tight round the waist & the belt 
then sliped down over it, & the portion above the belt, rolled 


over it, which keeps this neat & rich garment in place. The 
leggings are of blue, green, or red broad cloth. They are 
about nine inches in diameter, made in the form of cylinder, 
& confined by a garter below the knee. The bottom of them 
touch the instep & are ornamented with beads like the peti- 
coat. The gown or upper garment is usually of calico made 
like a hunting shirt, droping down to the hips, united in 
front with brooches & frequently a row round the neck & 
down the sleeves, over the whole is worn either a white blan- 
ket like a mantle or a piece of blue black or brown broad- 
cloth which is put over the head & held by the hands so 
drawn over the chest as to cover the body & leaving only the 
face exposed. The most able & tasty wear broad cloth 
mantles when at a dance, or on a visit to the city. They are 
two yards square, & never hemed, or ornamented, — or is the 
list taken off. The hair is invariably parted in the middle & 
carried back & united in a knot to which broad & long black 
ribbands are suspended, falling down as low as the hips ; 
or the hair is simply tied near the head & hangs down loose. 
Earrings & all of silver are universal. I saw but one ordi- 
nary pair among all the women ; the brooches are also silver 
& their rings save in a few instances gold was seen. The 
mocasins are deer skin ornamented with beads & porcupines 

The process of dressing the deer-skin is very simple & 
peculiar to the Indians. The skin when taken from the deer, 
is carefully deprived of every particle of flesh, & then 
stretched between poles, vertically. The Hunter put up 
round his camp upright poles ten or twelve feet high & suffi- 
ciently far enough apart to allow the skin to be stretched to 
its greatest width, & others are lashed horizontally to them, 
— one at the bottom near the ground & the other sufficiently 
high to admit the skin to be extended its whole length. 
Bass wood bark is prepared in strips & one of them is made 
to pass all round the skin in holes cut near the edge, so as to 
form loops about one or two inches apart ; to these loops 
other strings are fastened & passing round the vertical & 
horizontal poles, the skin is expanded to its greatest possible 
extent & surface. They remain thus exposed to the open air 


for two or three months. When they are dressed they are 
soaked in water, & having a beam fixed obliquely, like that 
used by currier [s] the skin is, in portions put on it, flesh side 
down & the hair & outer cuticle, or grain as it is called 
scraped off with a steel or iron tool, some ten inches or more 
long, fixed in a wooden handle so as to form a scraper ; the 
edge like that of a skate iron, is ground to sharp corners. 

The heads of the deer having been brought to the camp, 
the skulls are cracked open & the brains taken out, & boiled 
in water, so as to deprive them of all fibre & fat, & then put 
on to pieces of bark which are laid up on poles in the camp 
to dry ; this substance is then scraped off into a box, or some 
other vessel & kept for use, in curing & preparing the deer 
skin leather. When used it is put into a cloth, & tied up, & 
that is plunged into hot water, & squeezed & worked by the 
hand until all the substance of the brains, which is sufficiently 
soluble passes through which gives the water a milky appear- 
ance. In this the skin is soaked & rubed for a considerable 
time, which makes the skin swell & become soft, when dry it 
is rubed, until the whole of it appears pliable & thoroughly 
impregnated with the brains. It is then sewed up into a 
cylinder length ways & closed at the top. A hole about 18 
inches deep & a foot in diameter is then dug in the ground, & 
sticks stuck into the earth around it, as high as the skin, 
which is drawn over them like an inverted bag, & the lower 
end spreading out on the ground for two or three inches is 
covered with earth so as to make it close. In the hole a 
smoke is made of Hemlock or other bark, which is kept up, 
until the skin is thoroughly impregnated with the smoke, & 
assumes a rich Yellowish colour, then it is taken off & again 
rubed in the hands, when the leather is fit for use. 

Sep. 17. A clear bright, calm & lovely morn & day. The 
Council met at twelve, when Mr. Gillet announced that in 
consequence of his being summoned with the Superintendent 
of Mas. to attend the Police Court in Buffalo, as witnesses 
in the case of Strong & Jimenson, the council was adjourned 
to the 1 8th at 11 oclock. I went to the city in the afternoon 
with Mr. Gillet to attend the police court, as a witness in the 
case of the assault of Israel Jimenson on Strong; & not- 


withstanding the testimony was full & clear, for the facts, 
(as I have narrated them,) were proved by five witnesses it 
was decided that there was no cause of action. The judge of 
the Police Court is an ignorant, uncultivated & rough man, 
who has no idea of decency of conduct, or the respect due to 
the laws & the judicial & other tribunals, of the country.* 
There was an appeal in this instance, on the recommendation 
of the commissioner & myself to the civil authority, with the 
fullest confidence that ample protection would be extended 
to us, as well as such a judgment, rendered as would have 
induced all present, to have gone away with a proper regard 
for the judiciary, & the necessity of so conducting, as would 
exempt them from merited rebuke & punishment ; but he dis- 
missed the auditory of whites & indians, with the evident 
impression that outrage, & indecorum may be committed, in 
the council, with impunity, & showing that now it was indis- 
pensably necessary to call in a military force for our protec- 
tion, as well as to enable the Commissioner of the United 
States to discharge his duty, in conformity to the laws & his 
positive instructions. How utterly inefficient, in fact, have 
our civil tribunals proved to be in cases of the heinous char- 
acter of that which have been so impotently adjudicated. A 
court commits a man to prison, for even an insulting word to 
the bench, — or the slightest disturbance the Parliament of 
Great Britain sends to the tower, or expels, a member who 
violates the rules of the house. Congress summarily pun- 
ishes any interuption of its proceedings, or insult offered to 
its members or officers ; — & here, a council, in which is the 
agent, & Commissioner of the national government, the rep- 
resentative of a state, & those of a nation, is rudely inter- 
rupted & broken up in the most shameful, insulting & dis- 
graceful manner, & the interpreter, who is also an officer of 
the nation, assaulted, and yet we are all treated by a magis- 
trate of a city, to whom a proper appeal is made for redress, 
as if we were a pack of drunken street brawlers. I do not 

* The Commercial Advertiser of concurrent dates contains no mention of 
this case. The police justice was James L. Barton. The office, or court-room 
where this case was tried, was over the west end of the old Terrace Market, on 
the Terrace near Pearl Street. The Mayor's office at that time was in the same 


believe that there is a judge of any court of the U. S. or any 
superior court of a state, that would not have promptly 
bound over the offender for trial, & pronounced such a 
opinion, as would have made all present fully sensible of the 
necessity of order being maintained, from the certainty of 
plenary punishment being visited on all offenders who were 
guilty of such a breach of decorum. So much for our 
boasted judiciary. — So much for that mistaken policy, which 
places vulgar & ignorant men in positions, where talent, edu- 
cation & personal merit, should be considered as the indis- 
pensable qualifications of the incumbents. Justice is repre- 
sented as blind, & here the propriety of that curious & re- 
markable mode of distinguishing that goddess by the 
ancients has been fully illustrated. 

Sep. 1 8. Still day clear & warm. I have geathered 
apples of the wild native crap tree, on this creek & taken out 
the seed to carry home & plant, & collected seed of the in- 
digenous Clamatis & bulbs of the Indian Turnip. & seeds of 
five other wild plants whose names I do not know. & min- 
erals, of this section of the country. 

From what I have seen on this Indian reservation & the 
remarks of the most intelligent chiefs, as well as the infor- 
mation of persons who have either lived long in the midst of 
indians or traveled through the north western & south west- 
ern tribes & visited those which have removed to the Indian 
Territory, west of Missouri & Kansas, — I am perfectly satis- 
fied that the efforts for amilioration & improvement must be 
commenced with the females ; from immemorial & universal 
custom they have done all the labor, of tilling the land & 
manufacturing all the articles of clothing & managing the 
domestic & economical concerns of the family. The men 
from pride & long habit are averse to work, their only ex- 
citement to action being that produced by war & hunting. 
Let there be sufficient cattle & ploughs provided to break up 
10 to 20 acres of the land for each family & hoes rakes, 
shovels &c furnished to till it by the women ; have primary 
schools for the girls & boys, to teach all to read & write & 
common arithmatick, persons to instruct the former to spin 
& weave, & give encouragement in the way of premiums to 


the mothers for each son when 12 years old & even younger, 
who shall regularly work on the land or at some mechanical 
trade, & when 16 allow the sons half of the premium. This 
will in one generation make all the Indians good farmers, & 
introduce all the useful mechanical arts & bring them up to 
such a state of independence, intelligence & habits of indus- 
try, as will insure a progressive march in moral excellence & 
refinement. The land as I have before observed must be 
first divided & each have its own tract in severalty & to be 
sold, divised, or inherited as with the whites. And what is 
of vast & indispensable importance there must be a simple 
national government established, at the head of which there 
should be an able & good man, as Governor General, a Legis- 
lative body like Congress, of deputies or representatives of 
each tribe elected for that purpose by land owners only. 
Also a constitutional government for each tribe like our state 
governments & the office of chiefs abolished, — the Chief 
magistrate & other officers to be chosen, or appointed & the 
representatives to be in number proportioned to the size of 
the tribe but never to exceed a 100 Such general & tribe gov- 
ernments will in cooperation with the other means for amen- 
dation & amelioration bring these barbarians out of the 
degraded state in which they have so long & now remain. 
Induce them to abolish all their ridiculous war, corn, dog & 
other feasts & dances, & introduce the musick & dances of 
the whites. Act in fact as Peter I of Russia did to civilize 
& agrandize the barbarions of his empire. Finally absolutely 
prohibit the introduction of ardent spirit, at all events & 
allow not a white person to reside within their tribes, except 
such as are officers of the U. S. & allow no traders but 
native indians. Do this & the work of civilization will be 
certain rapid & successful, in the most complete & satisfac- 
tory manner. 

I have read this morning the Annual Report from the 
War Department, on Indian Affairs. It contains much inter- 
esting intelligence. & the facts stated by Robert Simerwell, 
a teacher on the Osage river among the Pottawatamies, in 
relation to a New System of instruction, is very remarkable 


& must effect a rapid change in the character of the indians, 
from the facility it offers of learning them to read. 

He states that "adults, even the old as well as the youth 
can learn to read in the course of a few days. Several in- 
stances have occurred of adults, previously ignorant of let- 
ters, learning to read, with three or four days study. In this 
system english types are used to save the expense of found- 
ing others, but not for the purpose of spelling, which is 
usually unnecessary; or compounded sounds which never 
vary their uses. These sounds in most of the Indian lan- 
guages, are eight or ten, some of which but not all, are what, 
upon the principle of spelling are termed vowel sounds. Not 
more than twenty three characters, have yet been found 
necessary in writing any Indian language the use of these 
can be learned, as soon as the names of twenty three letters 
of the English alphabet. As soon as the learner has acquired 
a knowledge of the use of the characters, he can read."* 

"This system has been applied to eight Indian languages, 
with a success exceeding expectation." 

Here is a discovery, worthy of the highest commendation, 
& as wonderful, as it is destined to be useful. It will pro- 
duce a change, in the condition of the Indians, as great as 
was ever effected in the human race ; — if the government 
zealously, & liberally provides & directs the means of its 
application, to the great purposes of intellectual improve- 
ment, agricultural industry & the inculcation of a practical 
knowledge of the mechanical arts. It will I trust, claim the 
profound consideration of the national executive & legisla- 
ture, as well as of all the philanthropists of the Republic. A 
grand & generous effort should be made to reclaim & exalt 
the long long degraded savages of this continent. It should 
be attempted to arrest the decadence of the already dimin- 
ished natives, & a thorough experiment made to render 
them equal in all respects to the white population, both in 
moral advancement & physical comfort. 

The Council met at twelve. Mr. Gillet addressed the 
chiefs on the impropriety of the conduct of several of them, 
on friday the 14th., & stated that he was happy to learn, that 

•25th Cong. 2d sess. Sen. Doc. I, p. 570. 


there had been a determination entered into among them, to 
maintain order. After some general remarks on the import- 
ance of perfect freedom in debate, for the purpose of a full, 
firm & manly discussion of the subjects under consideration, 
& that arguments should be refuted, by arguments, instead 
of being opposed by rudeness & violence, he called on all the 
chiefs to use their influence to restore & maintain the char- 
acter of the Seneca Nation, for propriety of conduct, on such 
grave & interesting occasions. 

Mr. Harris then addressed the council in vindication of 
the charges made against him by Jimenson on the 13th. for 
entertaining an opinion on the question of emigration, differ- 
ent from that which he professed several years since, & then 
stated the reasons why he considered [it] expedient for the 
nation to accept the liberal offer of the government. He 
made a very able & manly speech. 

After Harris resumed his seat, the Commissioner stated, 
that Bennet, who was prevented from concluding his speech 
by the disturbances on the 14th. wished to have an oppor- 
tunity of doing so but that he had been obliged to go home 
to Catteraugus, & had not yet returned, he should therefore 
adjourn the Council until eleven oclock to morrow. He also 
observed that, he hoped very soon to be able to present the 
treaty, for the signatures of those who approved the amend- 

There was an annular eclipse of the sun this day. It com- 
menced at 2h. 46m. 58s. & continued until 5. 23. 00. It was 
a grand spectacle. The weather had been cloudy until just 
as the eclipse began when the clouds became so thin & scat- 
tered as to give a perfect view of the wonderful phenomenon. 
The eclipse was annular here, at Detroit, Harrisburgh, 
Penn. Norfolk, Richmond, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Pitts- 
burg, Richmond, Rochester in this state, Toronto in Canada, 
Trenton, N. Jersy, Petersburg, Wheeling, Washington & 
New York. The entire eclipse passed over the territory of 
the Hudson Bay Company, the western part of upper Canada 
& Lake Superior, the N. E. part of Wisconsin, & the state of 
Michigan, & over portions of New York Penn a Maryland, & 
Virginia. There will not be a total- eclipse in New England 




or the middle states, during the remainder of this century, 

or in any other part of the Union until August 7th. 1869. 

Sep 19. The heavens are wrapt in clouds & after an un- 
usual long continuance of dry & warm weather there is an 
appearance of a rain storm. The council did not meet until 
two oclock, in consequence of the arrival of the agent to 
make arrangements for the payment of the Indian annuities, 
& three chiefs of the Wyandots nation, with whom the com- 
missioner of the United States was engaged. We adjourned 
between four & five. 

The fact that a military force was at the disposal of the 
Commissioner, being made known to the Indians & their bad 
advisors & instigators, to disorderly conduct, has had the 
desired effect, & the Council has proceeded since in a per- 
fectly orderly manner. The knowledge, that there is at our 
command, efficient means to prevent disturbances, has been 
sufficient to give security without their actual presence. 

This has not been the most agreeable tour of duty which 
I have had occasion to perform; but still it has been inter- 
esting & instructive, in many respects. It has afforded me an 
opportunity, to become well acquainted, with the actual con- 
dition of the indians in this state, & to behold some of the 
dark shadows of the human character, which are not often 
exposed to view, in the quiet walks of life. Then, the devel- 
opments of the natural resources of our vast western regions, 
& the mighty influence, which intelligence, industry & enter- 
prise have had, & are continuing to have, on all the branches 
of national industry, are full of subjects for profound con- 
sideration, especially when contrasted with the condition of 
the nations, who are in the midst of this momentous moral 
& physical revolution, without having been participants, in 
the benefits which their white brethren are enjoying. Man 
is in vigorous action on the shores of these inland seas. He 
is advancing in all the arts of civilization, on a scale of gran- 
dure, with strides more wonderful & consequences more 
glorious, than in any other period of his existance. The 
anticipations of the future prosperity, wealth, population & 
improvements, which are to be developed within half a cen- 
tury, cannot be too extravagant, for the reality, will outstrip, 


the calculations of genius & the sanguine hopes of the 

From this point, this position, the American Hercules 
has gone forth, to achieve more wonderful exploits than 
those of the son of Alcmena. He went forth to destroy, but 
this republican adventurer to create. Indeed, to have a just 
& adequate conception of our flourishing country & the ra- 
pidity of its advancement, it is necessary to be on one of 
those magnificent highways, over which the armies of emi- 
gration & the products of our own agriculture manufac- 
tories commerce, forests & mines are thronging to an ex- 
tent, that fills the spectator, with astonishment, gladness & 
pride. On these great lakes, rivers canals & railroads water 
& steam are displaying their grandest energies, by the com- 
bined influence of science & the arts. There is besides an- 
other aspect, which is scarcely less worthy of notice, in which 
we are to be gratified, when looking out upon these western 
regions. It is the immensity of the natural features of the 
country, — grandure, sublimity & beauty. They are a bound- 
less & exhaustive magazine, for furnishing subjects, on 
which the imagination may luxuriate, sentiment find mate- 
rials for its fullest action, & the whole mind themes for deep 

And to all these are to be added the historical reminis- 
cences, connected with the remains of fortifications, whose 
foundations mark the date of the first settlement of the 
shores of the St. Lawrence, Ontario, Niagara & Erie. Here 
are the battlefields of the Indian French & British colonial 
wars, that of the revolution, & the last, in which this nation 
has been involved, with a foreign power. Besides, there are 
the botanical zoological, & geological branches of inquiry, 
which present numerous objects, to the curious investigator, 
of the vegetable, animal & mineral realms. From all of 
which, if a few ideas are gathered up, I shall be amply com- 
pensated, for whatever of trouble & annoyance I may have 

The three Wyandots, have been on to Washington to 
negotiate a treaty for the sale of the right of possession to 
their lands in Ohio & to remove to the Indian territorv in the 


west. One of them has resided four years in that new home 
of the Indians with the Seneca band which moved there from 
Ohio. He went on purpose to view the country, & recently 
returned so much pleased with it that the tribe has deter- 
mined to go. The Wyandots reside on the Sandusky river 
about 40 miles above the town of that name. There are only 
500 of them left, & their reservation is equal to that of the 
Senecas in this state, it being 110,000 acres. They attend 
the council this day & two of them made speeches to the 
indians advising them by all means to sign the treaty & go 
west. The interpreter's name is Lane, who reported in Seneca 
what the Wyandots said & Strong our interpreter gave it to 
us in English. Lane informed me he was the first white man 
born west of Utica. He had his birth in Buffalo in 1786, 
when there was only one other house besides his father's. 
and that belonged to a Negro who kept a little shop to trade 
with the Seneca Indians.* 

Col. Jones brought me in this evening the "fatal root" 
which the Indians eat & the whole plant attached ; it is 
called the wild parsnip & the seeds resemble those of the 

* This statement is probably true, although it has been claimed that the first 
white male child born in Buffalo was Aldrich Wells, born here in 1797. In the 
possession of the Buffalo Historical Society is a daguerreotype of an aged 
man; preserved with it is the following record: "Daguerreotype of Ezekiel 
Lane, who died in Buffalo in 1848, aged 102 years. In 1796 there were but four 
buildings on the present site of Buffalo. Of these, the first was built by Mr. 
Lane and his father-in-law Martin Middaugh. It was a double log house on or 
near Exchange Street, a little east of Washington Street. This house was oc- 
cupied by Judge Barker in 1807 or 1808. Middaugh died in the winter of 1822 
at an extreme old age." The picture of Lane, taken after his death, was de- 
posited with the Buffalo Historical Society, by the Young Men's Association, in 
April, 1865. Newspaper notices printed at the time state that he died on 
April 6, 1848, that he was the first white resident of Buffalo, and erected the 
first house here, in 1784. He was a soldier of the Revolution, and fought at the 
battle of the Minnisink, in 1779. For the last twenty years of his life he was a 
member of the Methodist church, and his funeral was held on Sunday, April 9th, 
from the' Swan-street Methodist church. The Buffalo City Directory for 1844 
has this entry: "Lane, Ezekiel, 1st settler 99 years old 6 s side buff creek." The 
earlier directories do not mention him, probably because they listed only people 
who were in business. If, as appears, Ezekiel Lane was born in 1745 or '46, he 
was about 93 years old at the time of the councils on Buffalo Creek attended 
by Gen. Dearborn. The Lane who then acted as interpreter, said he was born 
at Buffalo in 17S6; which would have made him 52 years old at the time of the 
council, and fixes his birth at about two years after Ezekiel Lane settled here. 
Inferentially, he was a son of the first settler, though the present editor finds 
nothing to prove it. 

3 a 

i n 



5 z 


parsley or rather more the coriander. The root is composed 
of several tubers, which grow in the manner & are in the 
shape of those of the Dahlia, but not so large. There are five 
or six tubers to each plant. It is biennial. The tubers are 
round & smooth ; skin light yellow. The flesh of the root is 
white & tastes — for I chewed a piece of it, sweet & delicate, 
something like that of a parsnip. Mr. Cone & Mr. Jones 
had seen Indian women who had eaten it, in the agonies of 
death. Two tubers of the size of those drawn on the oppo- 
site page [sketch omitted], several Indians told me, this 
evening, would kill the stoutest man, in half an hour. It 
brings on violent spasms & they appear delerious. They are 
convulsed, & the head & back drawn back as in cases of the 
lock-jaw. Women, from love & jealousy, often become 
victims to this "fatal root." The death scene is horrible, so 
excrutiating are the spasms. 

This has been a cloudy & cool day, but it cleared up at 
dusk, & the night is cold. I have had a fire in my room all 
the day & evening. 

Sep 20. A clear & beautiful morning. I have written 
the Governor a letter of eight pages this day. I find on spe- 
cial inquiry of the indians that they have as much beard as 
the whites, but that it is pulled out, from time to time as it 
appears which is a painful operation & that now all those 
who have adopted the dress & habits of the whites shave. 
The men & women have as much hair on their private parts, 
— & which is never eradicated, as the white men & women. 

The females are remarkably cleanly in their persons, as 
they bathe or wash themselves all over, several times a week. 
— custom & pride of purity of their bodies, makes this a fixed 
& uniform custom. Several white men, who have been born 
& lived in the midst of the indians, & been on the most fa- 
miliar & intimate terms with the females, assure me that 
they are as modest in language & conduct in private, as they 
are conspicuously & admirably so in public: — that they are 
gay, full of wit & pleasantrys — talkative & remarkably 
agreeable in all respects, & in their love attachments ardent, 
faithful, kind & indefatigable in their exertions to please. 
They are in no fear of their husbands & feel & act on a per- 


feet equality with them ; advise them in all their conduct in 
the mightiest matters & have immense influence, for they 
may leave them when they chose & when not treated kindly 
invariably do so. This induces the husbands to treat their 
wives well. The latter have certain duties & labor to per- 
form growing out of their peculiar condition as a people & 
their habits & customs of all time. The men were often & 
long absent from home, either in campaigns or on their 
hunts, which devolved the charge of the household on the 
wife. She was of necessity obliged to plant & gather the 
corn & vegetables ; make all the clothing, lay up & cook the 
various articles of food. These duties are not arbitrarily 
imposed & exacted, but are peculiar, & considered as be- 
longing to the females as not only indispensable to the com- 
fort & existence of themselves & children, but proper in all 
respects, & they, therefore, cheerfully perform them. The 
descent is through the females & the children belong to the 
mother, who takes them with her, if she separates from her 
husband & provides for them. He has nothing to do with 
them after. In fact the wife is more useful & important to 
the husband than he is to her. She lives with him from love. 
For she can obtain her own means of support better than he 
can. It is his interest therefore to sO conduct as to retain 
her affections. As mothers they are affectionate, careful, 
kind & laborious in their care of their little children. They 
carry them with them, when nursing every where ; they are 
never separated, they take them to the dances, dance with 
them in their arms, carry them on their backs to town, & I 
never saw so many fat & healthy babes among the white 
women, as I have here with the Indian. The little girls of 
three & six years old are many of them beautifully clad like 
their mothers, & their dresses covered with brooches. I have 
not seen an unkind look or word between the females, or 
between them & the men. The latter merely do not attend 
to them in public & the females do not expect it. Their 
ways are not like ours & they are content & happy in the 
position they occupy. Equals & quite as independent as the 
men in all that is general as to both, & each separately form- 
ing his or her duties as things proper & indispensable for the 


interest & happiness of themselves in their several domestic 
private & common relations. 

Persons who have attended the Council & in or out of 
it, have endeavored to induce the Indians not to emigrate 
are, Rev. A. Wright Missionary, residing on the reservation, 
John Lay, Step. Grovner [Grosvenor], Seth Grovner, R. B. 
Heacock & Son. Charles Norton, Charles R. Gold Atty, be- 
sides many others. Lay claims a debt of 2,500, which is the 
reason of his opposition. Hecock, has the canal for his 
mills &c. Grovner is brother-in-law to Hecock. Mr. 
Jones gave a written statement to Mr. Gillet in which he 
states that he heard Norton say if the Ogden company 
would give Stephen Grovner 2,000 all opposition on the part 
of the above named most active partizans of Heacock, Nor- 
ton & the Grovners. — [would cease] 

The following described minerals were presented to me 
by Doct. Henry P. Wilcox, of Irving Chautauqua county N. 
York. No. 1. Magnetic Iron Ore from the Hot Springs of 
Arkansaw, about 100 miles S. W. from Little Rock, between 
the Arkansaw & Red Rivers, scattered in boulders of from 
small pieces not more than half an inch to two feet in diame- 
ter. The soil a coarse gravely clay, & moist. No. 2 Prarie 
Salt, from near the margin of the Salt branch of the Arkan- 
saw, & about 250 west of Fort Gibson. The Prarie is a 
mile & a half long ^4 of a mile wide & covered entirely with 
the salt from six inches to a foot thick. The Indians for a 
vast region supply themselves with it. It accumulates from 
the soil, as the water ooses up from below & is evaporated 
by the sun. No. 3. Sulphate of Zinc from the tract desig- 
nated for the Senecas in the Indian territory In a prarie 
between the Little Osage & Maridisane, on a vast elevation 
about 50 feet high & 4 or 500 wide running in a ridge across 
the prarie many miles in lenth. No. 4. Lead ore from the 
Indian territory in a ledge situated in a gravely soil. No. 5 
Limestone, with shells, from an elevation in the Indian ter- 
ritory. No. 6. Amber from" the margin of the Maumetow, 
on a moist prarie, in the Seneca location. It is in large quan- 
tities. No. 7. Sandstone from a ledge on the Missouri half 
way from the mouth to Fort Leavenworth. No. 8. Silver, 


— Virgin, from Taxes. No. 9. Gold from Missouri. It is 
in a ledge near a stream & in vast quantities & the position 
of the ledge is only known to Doct. Wilcox, who intends to 
go there this autumn & endeavor to secure the land as it has 
been surveyed since he was there two years since, & will 
soon be offered for sale by the government. 

The Council met at one oclock. judge Skiken [?Stry- 
ker] stated to the chiefs that the paymaster had made ar- 
rangements to pay them their annuities on the 8th. of Oc- 

Robinson, one of the Chiefs from the Alleghanys Reser- 
vation, arose & observed, that he had been deputed, by the 
party in opposition to the treaty, to ask me some questions, 
which they wished I would answer. 1st. whether the treaty 
was not to be presented in council, for their assent or objec- 
tion, and whether if not approved the old treaty would be 
binding. 2d, what was my opinion of the conduct of the 
Commissioner, during the council & whether I thought it 
had been proper. 

In reply, I stated the object for which I had been sent, — 
my opinion as to the practicability of improving their condi- 
tion, which I alledged, I always believed could be done, if 
liberal & active measures were taken by the government. I 
stated what had been done in other ages & nations, & espe- 
cially in Russia, since the days of Peter I. &c. &c. &c. ; & 
after a speech of about half an hour, I answered, that, the 
treaty must be presented in open council & unless approved 
it was null & void, & that it was the opinion of the Governor 
of Massachusetts, that unless the treaty was ratified by the 
Indians, so intimately connected was it, with the contract for 
the sale of their land, the latter would be of no effect, but 
that he did not so positively decide, & that it was a subject 
for deep consideration. It however was his opinion if the 
treaty was rejected the contract was void. 

As to the conduct of the Commissioner, I had carefully 
attended to all he said. & had examined the treaty & the pro- 
ceedings of the Senate thereon, & all the other papers which 
he had read & that I sincerely believed he had, honestly & 
honorably taken unwearied pains, fully to explain & illus- 


trate the subjects submitted for their consideration, & that 
he had not given any statements or facts which I did not 
believe to be true. 

After I had concluded, Mr. Gillet made a speech in rela- 
tion to the manner in which the treaty was to be assented to. 
He said that he should lay it before them in Council, & all 
who chose could there sign it, & such as preferred doing so 
elsewhere, they would be allowed so to do. He then com- 
mented on the letter which Moris [Maris] B. Pierce read 
yesterday, from Mr. Robins, a Senator from Rhoad Island, 
until after four, when the Council adjourned'. 

Evening. Judge Paine of Aurora took tea here this 
evening, & informed me that he came through this reserva- 
tion 31 years ago, & then the Indians were a noble & well- 
dressed race of dignified & manly bearing, living comfort- 
ably & respectably, the flats of the Buffalo Creek was one 
continued Cornfield ; but that they have degenerated in a 
lamentable manner, ragged & miserable in their dress houses 
& mode of existance, the larger portion of their fields grown 
up to bushes & weeds & their chief subsistance is obtained 
by begging, in the neighboring city & villages & that mendi- 
cant parties extend their alms seeking to Genesee river. 
Their habits intemperate & mean, and all self respect & in- 
dependence of character gone. He thinks they have dimin- 
ished at least a third in population & that their extinction 
will soon be inevitable unless they emigrate. They are a 
great injury to the community around them, while the large 
tract of land on which they live, being 16 miles long & 8 
wide containing 50,000 acres nearly, is so much obstructed 
from agriculture & is in fact a wilderness in the midst of a 
flourishing farming county. The Tonnawandas are still 
more wretched, as are the Alleghanies, while those at Cat- 
taraugus are in equally as forelorn a state. Judge Paine has 
passed through this reservation almost weekly since 1807 & 
has had the best means of observing their decadence during 
that long period. 

I have been reading this evening the Travels of Chateau- 
briand, in Greece, Palestine & Egypt for the 2d time, having 
read it some 20 years since, — & have been much interested 


for he is an eloquent writer. This passage is very epigra- 
matic & instructive & striking from the correctness of the 
truths it proclaims. He is at Corinth, the place of exile of 
the tyrant of Syracuse who became a school-master, & the 
residence of the fatal victim of remorse — & observes: "I 
shall say nothing of Dionicious & of Timoleon, — one of 
whom was so cowardly as not to die, the other so unfortu- 
nate as to live." 

September 21. Weather still mild & clear, day & night, 
save the latter are a little cool. Mr. Hecock, a wealthy man 
by [ ?but] a great black-guard had the effrontery to harang 
the Indians & spectators, yesterday, in the Council House 
after the Council had adjourned. I learned from several 
persons who heard him, that he called Mr. Gillet a liar, 
scoundrel, & perjured villain, — that he had attempted to 
deceive the indians by falsehood &c. &c. This infamous 
man, the owner of the canal which runs through the Indian 
lands is fearful, if the treaty is confirmed he will be obliged 
to pay a just price for the use of it to the preemptioners in- 
stead of the paltry sum of 30 dols. a year to the Indians. 
This is his motive of beneficence to the indians. I have not 
seen a man who does not think the offers of the government 
magnificent, & that it is for their interest," ay, their very ex- 
istence to emigrate, except some half a dozen who are & 
have been reaping advantages from the indians in some 
way; & the latter have been indefatigable in their exertions 
to delude & impose upon the ignorance & credulity of the 
poor indians. They induce them to believe that the gov- 
ernment & the Commissioner are their enemies & these infa- 
mous wretches their best friends. What base & unprincipled 
men. I never witnessed such outrageous conduct. I never 
saw any men who had the effrontery to openly put at defi- 
ance all decency of conduct, all regard to truth, every prin- 
ciple of honor & all the decencies of society. It has been a 
scene of depravity & vulgarity at which one recoils, as from 
the profligate & reckless depravity of the vilest characters 
who fill our penitentaries & houses of correction, what 
monsters does self interest & the love of gain make of men 
who have been brought up, without any just notions of 


honor, honesty & moral rectitude of conduct or character. 
Vulgarity, when wealth has been partially accumulated, be- 
comes rapaciousness, & the cunning of the low gambler 
public robery & crime is employed only for keeping on the 
windy-side of the law, but God watches them & the people 
mark them. 

They have a novel mode of taking fish in Lake Ontario. 
A rope is extended from one projecting head land to another, 
a distance of several miles, which is supported by buoys, — 
for the water of the lake is so unfathomable, that the ex- 
tremities of such a rope can not be confined by anchors. To 
this rope fish lines are attached at proper distances, which 
are from 200 to 300 feet long, & the hooks bated. The fish- 
ermen pass along the extended rope from fish-line to fish- 
line & drawing them take off the fish that may have been 
caught. In this manner vast quantities are daily obtained 
for the Rochester market & the whole vally of the Genesee, 
for 30 miles & more are supplied with fresh fish, from an es- 
tablishment off the mouth of the harbor which cost 800 dol- 
lars : so expensive is it to extend the miles of rope, with its 
numerous fish lines. The pike, pickeral, perch huge salmon 
trout & other fish are numerous & of excellent quality. They 
take in the Lake salmon trout which weigh from 6 to 32 
pounds. The towns on the shores are supplied with them 
fresh & they are salted & transported into the interior, so 
that the business of taking & curing white fish, trout & other 
fish of the lakes, is very important & employs a great capital 
& many persons. A company of gentlemen in the City of 
New York who are concerned in the fur trade in the north 
west, have established a fishery on Lake Superior, & have 
built schooners to transport the salt & fish from & to the 
sault of St Marys to & from the various places where the 
seining grounds are the best on the shores of the lake. From 
the foot of the rapids, the barrels of fish are transported over 
Lakes huron Michigan & Erie to the several towns of trade 
& there distributed into the interior. There are also large 
fisheries on all the upper lakes & especially Huron & the St 
Clair as well as the straits between that & Huron & Erie. 
I walked out with Col. Jones this morning to collect seeds 


or roots of plants. I brought home bulbs of the Arum or 
Indian Turnip & the seeds of a low shrub, which bears a 
compound purple flower of a globular form. It is here called 
House balm. The leaves & blossoms are aromatic, & of the 
flavor of sweet balm. I also got a branch with the leaves & 
seed of the fatal Indian root & have put in paper & under a 
weight to press & dry to take home to ascertain its botanical 

Evening. The Council opened at one & closed at four. 
Mr. Gillet concluded his comments on the letter which Moris 
Pierce read from Mr. Robins, & on Pierces conduct & mis- 
representation to Robins, & that of the white men who had 
been constantly attending the Council & daily meet with the 
indians, opposed to emigration, for the purpose of deceiving 
them & alluded especially to one, — meaning Hecock, who 
had been the most insolently officious, & obnoxious to re- 

I was questioned, by Robins as to [where the treaty was 
to] be signed & in whose presence. I stated that I consid- 
ered it necessary that it should be presented in open council 
for signatures, & if from any cause, names were added in 
any other place, I considered it my duty to be present & be 
satisfied it was done freely & willingly, & that I should re- 
port how & when & where all signed. 

White Seneca then made a long & clever speech in favor 
of emigration, the best from any of the Indians. When he 
had concluded he was replied to by Big Kettle. 

Moris Pierce then rose & said, that the Commissioner 
had said, that no being living could accuse him of knowing, 
or conniving at, any bribe or fraudulent conduct, to induce 
the chiefs to sign the treaty, but that he had a witness, point- 
ing to Wilson who sat near him, who would testify that what 
the Commissioner had stated was not true. Wilson then got 
up, said he went to a room in the tavern where Mr. Allen 
was, who told him he did not understand the amendment to 
the treaty made by the Senate; but that he (Wilson) in- 
formed him that he did : That Mr. Allen then said he would 
call in the Commissioner to explain it to him, to satisfy him 
he was mistaken. That he went out & brought in the Com- 


missioner, who did explain the amendment & that he was 
satisfied with the correctness of the Commissioner's expla- 
nation & said so ; & that Mr. Allen then turned to him & 
said, now you had better go & take the fifteen hundred dol- 
lars & sign the treaty & that he presumed the Commissioner 
heard the offer made to tempt him. 

Mr. Gillet then rose & observed that the allegations made 
by Wilson were false, that after making the explanation of 
the amendment he immediately left the room & went to his 
own. He said he had no doubt that Wilson had been in- 
duced to make up the falsehood by certain white men & that 
the man was present who was the instigator & advisor of 
the foul & infamous plot to ruin his reputation ; but that he 
would, by reputable indians & white men prove, the false- 
hoods which had been uttered, & that he would do so when 
the Council again met, or before its final adjournment & 
that it should not be adjourned until he had done so. He 
then observed that at the request of White Seneca & other 
chiefs, in writing, we had consented to adjourn the Council 
until Monday, as the emigration party wished to meet to 
morrow, to consider the important question which had been 
presented to them, & conclude as to the course it was proper 
for them to pursue. He then remarked but for the scan- 
dalous attack made upon his character, he would have pre- 
sented the treaty & probably closed the Council on Monday ; 
but that now it was impossible to say when it would end. 

As soon as Mr. Gillet sat down Mr. Hecock, who had im- 
pudently taken a seat, in the midst of the opposition chiefs, 
between Pierce & I. Jimenson, rose in a great passion, & 
began to speak. Mr. Gillet ordered him to sit down ; & told 
him that he had no right to speak there, .& was a disturber 
of the proceedings of the Council. Hecock replied that he 
had a right to speak; that he was among the chiefs of an 
independent nation who had invited him to appear there & 
speak; Pierce also got up & insisted that he had a right & 
should be permited to speak. That it was their House & 
Council & that Mr. Gillet had no right to preside there. 
Mr. Gillet then directed the Sheriff to put Hecock out of the 
Council & was seconded in this by Judge Stryker, who 


walked with the Sheriff up to Hecock & told him to hold his 
peace for he should not speak & should be put out, — when 
Pierce interfered & declared what he had before uttered. 
Judge Stryker told him to hold his tongue & sit down or he 
should also be put out, that it was doubtful whether he had 
a right to sit there, for he was not a chief, & only acted for 
a child, who had him appointed a chief. I advised that 
Heacock should be put out of the Council House. There 
was considerable commotion. & Big Kettle got up & came 
near the table where we were sitting & said the chiefs had 
the whole power there & that if the council was not ended in 
a week they would carry us off of the reservation bundled up 
like packs. 

As Hecock insisted he had a right to speak & refused to 
& would not go out, the Sheriff & Judge Stryker called on 
the white persons present to assist the civil authority, when 
some ten or twelve men went forward, & Hecock called on 
the Warriors to protect him. They did not however & the 
Sheriff put him out. After order was restored the Council 
was adjourned to Monday at eleven oclock.* 

After the adjournment I met Mr Allen & Charles Pierce 
who acted as the interpreter between Mr. Gillet & Wilson. 
Mr. Allen stated, that he was passing a room, in Allen's 
tavern & the door being open, he saw that there were some 
indians within, & entered. That Wilson was talking to 
Charles Pierce, in relation to an accident which had befallen 
him in a cutter or sleigh last winter ; but soon after Allen's 
entry, he turned to him & said he did not fully understand 
the explanation of the Commissioner, as to the amendment 
of the treaty; that according to the words of the amend- 
ment, & what the Commissioner said in Council, it appeared, 
that if the land was divided among the indians, it would 
revert to the U. S. when the Indian died who lived on one 
of the separate lots which had been set off to him. Allen said 
he told him that he was mistaken, & that it would not revert 
to the U. S, until all the Indians of the tribe died, or left the 
tract. He then told Wilson he would call in Mr. Gillet, to 
explain the matter to him ; that he went to Mr. Gillets room 

* Charles B. Person was sheriff at this time. 



& immediately returned with him, who, having directed 
Charles Pierce to read the portion of the treaty in question, 
and translate it to Wilson, it was done. Mr. Gillet then 
made an explanation confirming what Allen had told Wilson, 
& went immediately out. That there was not a word said 
about any money to be paid to him, either while Mr. Gillet 
was present, or after he left them, while he remained, which 
was but a moment, when he also went out, leaving Charles 
Pierce & Wilson in the room. Charles Pierce, who is a 
highly respectable & educated young Indian from Cattarau- 
gus, about 25 years of age, & son-in-law to the distinguished 
chief Strong, stated, that Wilson came into Strong's (the 
interpreter) room, where he was, & said he wished to see the 
Indian Agent Judge Stryker, to ascertain whether he would 
not pay him 24 dollars for the damage done to his sleigh or 
sled; that while they were conversing Mr. Orlando Allen 
came in, & the conversation, took place which has been re- 
lated above. That there was not one word said about 1500 
dollars by Mr. Allen, or any other sum named to be offered 
or paid to Wilson ; that the latter was not even requested to 
sign the treaty, & that Allen went out soon after the Com- 
missioner. When they had both gone Wilson said to Pierce, 
if the Agent will pay me the 24 [blank in original] I will 
sign the treaty. 

Thus it appears a most wicked & infamous plot was con- 
trived & falsehoods uttered, in open council, to give it effi- 
ciency, by the parties who induced the miserable wretch to 
perjure himself, for the purpose of blasting the reputation 
& rendering the character of the Commissioner odious to 
the Indians, by convicting him of false statements, & con- 
niving at bribery & corruption, to cause the treaty to be 
ratified. Such are the mean, base & dioblical methods 
which the white advisers, & the vilest of the opposition indi- 
ans, resort to, for the accomplishment of their objects. 

Mr. Charles Pierce further stated, that the day before 
yesterday, only, he met Wilson on the Council grounds, who, 
pointing to his breast pin, & said, give me that, & I will sign 
the treaty; but that he walked away, without replying to 
Wilson. Thus it fully appears Wilson has twice stated that 



he would sign the treaty, if a small sum was paid, to idem- 
nify him for what he had lost by the accident in the sleigh, 
or even a paltry present of a brooch. 

September 22. I walked into the woods, at dusk last 
evening for exercise, the night was warm, as is this morn- 
ing. I am reading the Memoirs of the Duches D'Abrantes, 
in one vol. 8vo. This has been a hot sultry day, with a vio- 
lent S. west wind, & the roads are two or three inches deep 
with dust & the drought is so extensive & great that many of 
the wells are without water, & the small streams & springs 
have dried up. 

I went into the woods to walk this forenoon, & enjoy 
the shade of the majestic forest trees, the deep solitude, the 
holy kind of stillness which pervaded the vast & devious 
iles of the wilderness, the soft & mellow light, the balmy air 
& the presence, as it were of the spirit of God, whose om- 
nipotence was there, in the solemn & peaceful quietude which 
prevailed, — save, when the sweeping wind bowed the lofty 
summits of the aspiring maple, hemlock & oak, & their gi- 
gantic branches creaked as they swayed against each other 
in grand, yet graceful motions. 

Statements made by Bark, Sky-Carrier & Long John 
made in the Council with [in] the last ten days. 

The amount of Barks story was that white Seneca & 
another Indian came to him in the evening & talked to him 
in favor of the treaty & emigration 

Long John said he was in one of the rooms of the tavern 
with several Indians who talked to him in favor of the treaty 
& emigration & he told them he intended to sign it & meet- 
ing Judge Stryker he informed him of his determination 
who told him he was glad to hear it & gave him five dollars 
as a present with which he could purchase what he wanted & 
that he spent it & an Indian woman furnished with the five 
dollars which he offered to return. 

Sky Carrier, stated that he met several Indians in a room 
at the tavern, who were in favor of emigration & he went to 
find out what they were doing, & therefore pretended he was 
in favor of emigration, & told them so, & George Jimenson 
gave him ten dollars, which he returned to him in council. 


All these stories appear to have been concerted with Indians 
& each of the two last acknowledged that they voluntarily 
declared they were in favor of emigration, & the latter for 
the sole purpose of deception to find out what he could. 

At dusk we had a heavy thunder shower & it has rained 
most of the evening. 

Mr. Heacock called on me this afternoon, & made the 
following statement. He lives in Buffalo & owns a large 
quantity of land in the city. Has been a trader. He had 
traded with the Indians for many years, & there were now 
due him debts to the amount of over two thousand dollars ; 
that he thought the government should have authorized the 
Commissioner, to have made a provision in the treaty, to 
pay the just claims of the creditors of the indians, but the 
Commissioner did not feel authorized to do so, although it 
had been done in the treaties with the Western Indians; 
that he thought the terms offered to the Indians were liberal 
& it would be a great benefit to him for them to remove, as he 
owned land in the City of Buffalo, for a mile in length, ad- 
joining the reservation, which would be much enhanced in 
value, if the latter was sold & settled by white people. That 
Genl. Potter had promised to a friend to pay his demands 
against the indians, in the event the treaty was ratified & he 
made no opposition to it, & that he had met [ ?no opposition] 
until within two weeks when he had been requested to meet 
with the opposition chiefs & advise them, & that he had done 
so ; that a part of his debt was carpenters work done on the 
missionary chapel, to the amount of 400 dollars, for building 
or paying for the building of one or more houses & articles 
furnished the Indians, frequently on the requisition of 
chiefs ; that he had been requested to speak in Council by 
them & had their permission when he arose yesterday ; that 
he did not consider that the Commissioner had any right to 
preside in the Council, & regulate the proceedings of the 
Council, but that it belonged exclusively to the indian chiefs ; 
that he had prosecuted Mr. Gillet & Mr. Striker for ejecting 
him from the council, & that a remonstrance had been sent 
to Washington, against the conduct of Mr. Gillet, for keep- 
ing the Council open unnecessarily long; & conducting the 


business improperly but that the object of his visit was to 
express to me his entire approbation of my conduct, & that 
he considered I had acted like an honest, independent & 
honorable man, in my private & public capacity & that the 
opposition chiefs entertained the same opinion of me. 

I informed Mr. Hecock, that I came here without any 
prejudices or predilections pro or con, in relation to any of 
the parties, or persons interested in the subject on which the 
Council was convened ; that I had endeavored to make my- 
self thoroughly acquainted with all the facts, connected with 
the negociation & see that the indians were dealt with hon- 
estly & fairly. I had not met Mr. Gillet, until on this occa- 
sion; that I had carefully watched all his conduct & must 
frankly say, that I considered him an honest & honorable 
gentleman, who had the best interests of the indians at heart, 
& was most anxious to faithfully carry the measures of the 
government which had been confided to him into effect in a 
manner that would be for the best advantage of the indians ; 
that I deemed the offers of the government liberal, & benefi- 
cent & that it was for the present & future comfort & pros- 
perity of the Indians to accept them; although I was not 
authorized, as I had stated in Council to advise them, either 
to assent to, or reject the treaty; that I did not think the 
council had been unnnecessarily protracted & that there had 
not been a day, that had not been occupied in explanations 
& discussions, & that yesterday morning, the Commissioner 
had concluded he should be enabled to lay the treaty before 
the Council on monday, for signatures, & hoped the business 
would have been concluded by tuesday ; but that in conse- 
quence of the difficulty of yesterday, it was uncertain 
whether that could now be done, but I hoped it might, for I 
was anxious to return home. I then observed, that I re- 
gretted extremely, the course which had been pursued, by a 
number of persons, who had been in & about the council & 
attempted to interrupt & disturb the Council & induce the 
Indians to believe that false statements had been made to 
them, by the Commissioner, or that there was a desire to im- 
pose upon them by the government & that it would not faith- 
fully fulfill all the stipulations which were made. That the 


indians should have been put fully & fairly in possession of 
all the facts, & then left to decide, whether they would go to 
the west or remain ; that I considered the conduct of Mr. 
Grovner the other day improper, & his own yesterday ; that 
he had no right to speak in Council, & that Mr. Gillet was 
authorized & did right, in removing him from the Council ; 
that I advised to the employment of the civil officers to main- 
tain order & protect us in the discharge of our duty, & if 
necessary a military force could be employed for that pur- 
pose ; that I came from a section of the country, where per- 
fect order & propriety of conduct was considered indispen- 
sable, in conducting public business, & at all meetings where 
there were persons assembled to act on grave subjects, & that 
here no persons had a right to interfere in any manner, or 
speak in the Council, except the parties to the treaty & con- 
tracts & I did expect that all the proceedings would be de- 
corously managed. 

Mr. Heacock then observed that he had no complaint to 
make against me, & that he came to express his approbation 
of my conduct, fearing that reports might be made to me, of 
a different character, as eminating from him. I told him I 
was happy to find I had merited his good opinion & should 
endeavor so to discharge my duties, as to be satisfied with 
myself, while, I should so conduct as not to be obnoxious to 
censure by the whites or Indians, if it was in my power. He 
then left me. 

This evening I recommended to Mr. Gillet to send Judge 
Stryker into Buffalo to morrow morning & inform Genl. 
Potter, that he had better, at once assume all the debts of the 
Indians, & obligate the Ogden company to pay them, when 
the treaty was ratified & the Indians removed ; & secondly 
give an obligation to the Chiefs, authenticated in our pres- 
ence, that a lease for life should be given to every Indian, 
who desired it, of the lot of land on which he lived, where 
he could remain, or remove west as he might think best, & 
at such time as might be agreeable, should he ever conclude 
to go. That I believed it just & equitable he should do so, & 
that it would so satisfy the indians, & so entirely remove all 
the difficulties, which were now in the way, that the treaty 


would immediately be assented to, by nearly all the chiefs. 
This would be liberal, magnanimous, open, fair & proper, in 
all respects, & that it was for the interest of the Company s< 1 
to do ; as all persons would highly approve of such an honest 
& generous course. I sent a letter of eight pages to my 
good wife this evening, to be put into the Buffalo Post 

Sunday Morning Sep. 23. It rained most of last night 
& the heavens were wrapt in clouds this morning at day light 
but the wind had changed S. W. to N. W. & soon after sun 
rise it began to clear up, & the western sky to appear. A 
week ago last thursday, I had an oppression from eating 
food that disored my stomach, & my head ached continu- 
ally for five days ; during that period I eat no animal food & 
took tea & toast for dinner, on the 6th day, I felt relieved & 
have been right well since the 20th. yesterday after my 
walk, I felt drowsy & so strong a disposition to sleep that I 
laid down after twelve & slept until dinner was ready. 
Again in the afternoon the like inclination to sleep came 
over me & I slept two hours. I am in perfect health 
this morning; — never felt better brighter & more in 
spirit. The drowsiness I attribute to exhaustion & the 
constant state of activity of mind and unusual excitement, 
together with the warm weather, & the fasting of nearly a 
week ; and being at leisure all day, as the council did not 
meet, & it being quiet in & about the house, there was a con- 
sciousness of ease & peacefulness of mind & body, which was 
delightful & wearied nature seemed to seize the occasion, to 
restore the moral & physical powers of the whole system, by 
rest & sleep. It was a reaction, & a want which the mind & 
body claimed, with an imperiousness, which was not to be 
resisted, any more than hunger or thirst. That this extra 
sleep & rest was indispensable to recruit the fatigued facul- 
ties & members of the body is most evident from the fact 
that I was inclined to go to bed at an early hour & slept 
soundly all night ; & now I am more refreshed & feel in all 
respects better than any day since I left home. Thanks to 
Almighty God for his kind & merciful, protection & support. 

Mr. Chamberting of Buffalo called on me this morning 


& in giving an account of the contemplated improvements & 
advantages of that city & Black Rock, for trade, flower mills 
& manufactories he stated that, Black Rock was laid out as a 
city; & a company formed which owned over 600 acres of 
land which fronted on the Niagara river for nearly two 
miles & extended back, half a mile. It was laid out into lots, 
which averaged in cost to the company only 112^ cents per 
foot front & 100 feet deep, being but a little over 1 cent & 
one mill per square foot. He said that the new flower mill 
erected by Dunfey & Co. cost 50,000 dollars, & that he had 
been by & seen barreled up five barrels of flour in 14J4 
minutes. There are seven run of stones & all the flower is 
delivered through a spout into the packing room. They had 
ground 400 barrels in 20 hours. They will ' clear over 
100,000 dollars this year & have commenced building an- 
other mill which is to contain eight run of stones. The 
water power of Black rock is infinitely great. 

The water power of Niagara falls has been estimated to 
be equal to all the other water power & steam power of the 
U. S. England, Scotland & Ireland. It was guaged by an 
English gentleman & reduced to horse power & the number 
were as great as has been above stated. The mills & manu- 
factories & iron works which will be established at Black 
Rock will be beyond any other example & that in a few years, 
— not 20 will pass without an astonishing result having been 
thus produced. It will be an entire dense city & manufac- 
turing region from Buffalo to Tonnawanda Creek. The 
future for that district of country is of mighty & startling 

Col Jones brought me in yesterday morning a branch 
with the ripe fruit on & the root of a plant which is called 
spike-nard in this part of the country. The root is used 
for medicinal purposes, & especially as a tonic in drinks, or 
bitters. I have saved the seeds, taken a number of leaves 
from the stalk & pressed them, which, with the roots I shall 
carry home, to ascertain the botanical name. I collected 
yesterday fore [four] root berries of the tall Craneberry 
bush & pods of the seeds of a new species of JEsclopias, or 
milk weed. 


I wrote the governor a letter of 4 pages yesterday, giving 
a sketch of the conduct of Heacock in the Council. 

This is a striking & veracious remark of the Duches of 
D'Abrantes: "Prejudice squints when it looks & lies when 
it talks." 

Sep. 24. There has been a real equinoctial gale since 
Saturday afternoon, & it now blows furiously. Much rain 
has fallen, the thick & dark clouds which fill the atmosphere 
appear laden with rain, & although now & then there is a 
clear space of sky in the N. W. the storm does not appear to 
have ended. Last night, at times, there was a complete gale. 

The Duchess D'Abrantes thus eloquently exclaims: 
"The life of Napoleon may be divided into several periods. 
To mark his passage upon the earth five trophies, divide his 
route as landmarks. The first formed of a pile of conquered 
banners several crowns, treaties, keys of towns, & more 
.laurels than ever before Victory had granted to her most 
favored heroes. The second composed of pyramids, 
sphynxes, & hieroglyphic monuments indicating that his 
youthful glory had been to awaken the echoes of the An- 
cient African shores. The Consular fasces marked the 
third ; this emblem, still surmounted by the republican cock, 
admitted no suspicion that the next column would be formed 
of sceptres, thrones, & crowns ; bearing an escutcheon of 
imperial blazonry. And what is that which follows ? It is a 
tomb ! which has engulfed all ; and fixed by hatred in a 
desert, is visited only by the vassals of England." 

Well may we say, how unstable, how transitory are the 
pleasures, the glories, the honors, the power of man in this 
world. He can relie on only the moment, for a knowledge 
of the actual position in which he is — the next may plunge 
him into irretrievable ruin. He is like the seed in the 
thistle's down, driven by each passing blast ; it sometimes 
lights, among flowers, or on the sunny border of a grove, 
where it strikes its root & flourishes for a season or it sud- 
denly is whirled into the air & swept over the depths of the 
ocean, on whose agitated surface it soon falls, & sinks to 
rise no more. 

The Council did not meet this day as some papers which 



were to be read did not arrive from Buffalo; besides ar- 
rangements are being made to appease the opposition party, 
& remove some of their objections to assenting to the treaty. 

Saturday evening, I stated to Mr. Gillet, that I believed 
it was but just & proper, that the premptioners should as- 
sume the just debts, due from the Indians to persons, who 
had trusted them, as it would be in their power to be re- 
munerated, out of the amount to be paid to the heads of 
families, for the improvements, when they should leave for 
their new homes in the west ; & secondly, that they had bet- 
ter offer, in Council, to the Indians, to give to each person, 
who did not wish to emigrate, a lease of the lot of land, on 
which they resided, during their lives. These two measures, 
I believed, would be satisfactory to the creditors & Indians, 
& bring the negotiations to a speedy close, in a manner that 
would be agreeable to all parties. I therefore recommended 
to Mr. Gillet to send in to Genl. Potter, on Sunday morning, 
& urge his adopting the course I had suggested ; for it was 
open, fair, & liberal toward the indians & their creditors, & 
would be creditable to the preemptive company, let the result 
be what it may. He did send Doct. Wilcock to Buffalo yes- 
terday morning, & I learn, from Mr. Gillet, that Genl. Potter 
had informed him, this forenoon, that the measures recom- 
mended would be adopted, as soon as the necessary papers 
could be drawn up & that the propositions would probably 
be made to morrow to the indians & creditors. This was the 
chief reason for adjourning the council over until to mor- 

Sep 25th. A superb morning & thank God I am excel- 
lently well. I received a letter from the Hon Ransom H. 
Gillet, the U. S. Commissioner yesterday, to which were ap- 
pended 23 queries in relation to his conduct during the ses- 
sion of the Council, to which I returned answers, this morn- 
ing in a communication of five pages. I have finished the 
Duches D'Abrantes & am reading Essais sur Thistoire De 
France par M. Guizot, in two vols. i2mo. 

The council met between 12 & one & adjourned at 2. Mr. 
Gillet directed the interpreter to read the depositions of Or- 
lando Allen & Charles Pierce, a very intelligent & educated 


Indian of Cattaraugus, in which they deny the allegations 
made by Wilson against Mr. Gillet. They were first in 
Indian & then in English. He then made a few remarks & 
observed that to morrow a communication would be made 
to them, which would be beneficial & he had no doubt accept- 
able to the Indians & restore harmony among them. The 
Council adjourned to eleven oclock to morrow. 

Evening. Another calm, clear & beautiful day, & even- 
ing. I have taken my forest walk of an hour. I stood still 
from time to time, perfectly still, — not a sound. I looked up 
through the lofty tree-tops & not a leaf moved. How awful 
the silence, how profound the calm, how mellow yet sombre 
the light, which pervaded the woods & revealed the tall, 
strait, and majestic trees. It was like the groves of Eden 
when the first man stood alone in them, & wondered. I 
listened to hear an Archangel speak, & say behold the glory 
of -God. This is his temple ; pay homage to the Almighty ; 
bow with holy reverence in this undefiled vestibule of the 
true God. He is here & will hear you. Breath but a mental 
prayer. & it will reach the throne of the most high. 

The duches of D'Abrantes says: "Contemporary Mem- 
oirs are galleries adorned on one side with choice portraits & 
lighted on the other by windows overlooking the past." 

September 26. There are black heavy clouds in the east 
indicating a storm, but the zenith & west are clear. I found 
from various sources that the propositions which I recom- 
mended the preemptioners to make the Indians & their Credi- 
tors, have become known to the Chiefs & that they are quite 
acceptable & will produce harmony & occasion a general 
assent to the treaty. Such a result is of the utmost conse- 
quence to the Indians, the Government & preemptioners, & 
will be highly gratifying to the citizens of Buffalo, the 
county & state & most certainly to me, for I am very anxious 
to have the negociations close amicably & honorably & be 
able to return home. 

The Duches D'Abrantes, observes, in describing a look 
of Napoleon's, who covered by a smile, a sentiment or feel- 
ing of displeasure, ''And he laughed that laugh, which 
laughs not." How expressive, how exactly the idea is em- 


bodied. It was wrath concealed beneath the radiant 
countenance of the beautiful son of Mars, when he turned 
his admiring eyes on the lovely Psyche. 

Guizot makes this striking remark. — announces for the 
first time a great truth, which all acknowledge, as soon as 
made known. This is the mark of genius & of a great mind. 
All the fundamental principles of morals & science are based 
on a few facts — a few truths, which intelligence proclaim?, 
& they are at once received & become eternal : ''France did 
not enter the career of political liberty, until after having 
made an immense progress in that of civilization; while in 
England, a free government was born in the midst of bar- 
barism. " How that truth flashes on the mind. 

Sep 2J. It rained yesterday afternoon & this is a damp, 
dark, cloudy morning, with a S. W. wind. I went into Buf- 
falo yesterday afternoon to attend a party at Genl. Burts. I 
went with Majr. Genl. Macomb & lady, there were four or 
five other officers of the army & three British officers of a 
Regiment stationed in Kingston. I came back to the reser- 
vation this morning. I met Mr. Sears of Roxbury in the 
street this morning, on his way to Illinois where he is remov- 
ing. I was made happy in hearing by him from my dear 
family, as he saw my good wife the night before he left. It 
was an accidental & most fortunate meeting as I had received 
no intelligence from home for some weeks. 

The day before yesterday nine steamboats left Buffalo 
for the ports on the lakes Erie Huron & Michigan, loaded 
as deep as they could swim with goods & carrying over 1,500 
passengers. How this vast west is filling up with population 
& extending its relations & business with the atlantic. In 
twenty years Buffalo will contain 100,000 inhabitants ! ! ! ! ! 
I will note the time, when it comes round & see how near 
this Yankee guess of mine is to the fact. I think that result 
will be even sooner.* 

There are over 40 steamboats riming between Buffalo & 
the western Lake-ports. I think they will almost entirely 
take the place of sailing vessels for merchandize & products. 

* Twenty-two years later, the Federal census of i860 gave Buffalo a popula- 
tion of 81,129. 


Now there is a large ship, several brigs & some six or eight 
schooners, unrigged & lying idle in Buffalo harbor ; so much 
preferable do the owners of articles for transportation con- 
sider steam-boat conveyance. There will be large tow-boats, 
as on the hudson which will take a number of others built 
to convey freight ; & if it came on to blow too heavy to risk 
them alongside they will be veered astern of a cable & on 
being furnished with anchors left to ride out the gale, well 
mored, & then taken in tow again. 

The council met at one ; The opposition chiefs stated 
that they did not accept the proposition of leases for 10 
years. Israel Jimenson gave an account of the number of 
chiefs & said there were 92. The Commissioner replied that 
there seemed to be a difference of opinion among the chiefs 
themselves as to the number ; Big-Kettle said there were 
only 52, others 82 & others 71. He should not attempt to 
settle the question, but take the last [ ?list] furnished by the 
agent & if there was any question about it after the execu- 
tion of the treaty the president would settle the matter. I 
was asked to state again what was my opinion as to the mode 
in which the assent was to be given. I answered, That I 
considered it necessary that the treaty should be presented in 
open Council for signatures, & if from any cause, some of 
the Chiefs chose to sign in the Commissioners room or 
else [where] that I should be present & see that no coertion 
was used & that it was their free & voluntary act ; but that it 
was for the president to decide whether such a mode was 
valid. The Council at the request of Mr. Bennet adjourned 
to eleven oclock tomorrow, to enable them to confer with 
some of the old chiefs who were absent from sickness. Mr. 
Gillet stated, that he expected another proposition would be 
made to them to morrow which he had recommended & that 
the whole business of the council would be concluded by Sat- 
urday. God grant it may for I am weary — my patience is 
exhausted — I am completely tired out by this long & tedious 
negocian, with ignorant, stupid, drunken & vagabond men ; 
who we are meeting with & daily advising as if they were 
"most grave, potent & reverend Senators," when they are 
degraded savages who sit & smoke & look grave, as if they 


thought, when in fact they are too stupid to comprehend the 
momentous subject submitted to their consideration. As 
well might an hundred vagabonds of streets be called into a 
council to discuss & settle the affairs of the nation ; — it is a 
perfect mockery of negociation. They are incapable of 
managing their own interests, as the paupers of ours alms 

Sep. 28. A dark cloudy morning. The sun has not ap- 
peared since the 25th. 

Last evening Judge Stryker* the Agent of the Indians, 
called on me, & observed that he considered the Commis- 
sioner had a right under the resolution of the Senate to take 
the approbation or assent of the Indians, if it was signed to 
a copy of the treaty any where in the presence of witnesses, 
& asked my opinion as to the manner. I informed him that 
I considered it necessary that the treaty should be presented 
to the Chiefs in open Council, for their assent & that was to 
be ascertained by the number of signatures put to it, in his 
& my presence & if from sickness some could not attend, or 
if from fear of the indians, or other cause, there were others 
who preferred coming to the Commissioners room & signing 
the treaty it should be done in my presence to see that it was 
done freely. I stated that the words of the resolution are 
that the treaty was to have no force or effect until it "was 
submitted & fully & fairly explained by the Commissioner 
of the U. S. to each of the tribes seperately assembled in 
council & they have given their free & voluntary assent 
thereto;" That the passage quoted was one sentence undi- 
vided by even a semicolon, & that the explanation & assent 
must be given in council ; that in all the treaties ever made 
with the Indians, this had been the course, & the treaty was 
now as much a new one as if none had been negociated & all 
the forms were to be as much observed as in negociating any 
treatv ; that if anv other course was taken I should consider 

* James Stryker, appointed First Judge of the Common Pleas in 1837, which 
position he held until 1841. He was not "agent" for the Indians, as Gen. 
Dearborn has it, but was a commissioner, appointed by President Jackson to rep- 
resent the Government in the negotiations for the removal of the Western New 
York Indians to the West. In his later years Judge Stryker resided in New 
York City, where he published the American Register. 


it derogatory to the Commissioner, Agent myself & all the 
parties concerned ; that neither words, spirit or intentions 
would be complied with if the course he named was pursued, 
or would the transaction be approved by the President or 
Senate. That I wished the whole business, as thus far had 
been the case should be openly honestly & honorably done, 
so as to bear the most rigid scrutiny & put cavil or complaint 
at defiance. That I had come here to see that the negocia- 
tions were properly conducted & was happy to find thus far 
such had been the course, as to meet my entire approbation, 
and that I would not sanction the mode of assent which he 
thought legal & proper for the whole state of New York, & 
finally that unless the mode I named was adopted I believed 
that the Governor & Council would revoke the assent they 
had given to the Contracts for the sale of the right of pos- 
session of the land to the preemptioners. 

I told the judge my opinion was not to govern the con- 
duct of the Commissioner & himself. They could act as 
they thought proper, & it was for the president to decide 
whether it was correct or not, but I did not believe he would 
approve the mode of assent which he thought legal & proper 
& if he did, the Senate would be memorialized by the oppo- 
sition chiefs & Massachusetts would make such a represen- 
tation as would occasion investigation & which would re- 
sult in a resolution that their directions had not been com- 
plied with & therefore the treaty was null & void. 

I further observed, that I thought the Indians were mad 
not to agree to the terms of the government ; that it was a 
generous & beneficent offer & if they did not emigrate they 
would be in an abject, poor & wretched condition & be soon 
extinct as a nation; but still I wished them [to] act freely 
& as they thought proper ; & that I should not sanction any 
measure that I did not think lawful, honest & honorable, let 
the result of the negociations be whatever they might. It 
was for the Indians to determine & whether they concluded 
to go west or remain here however much I should lament, 
on their account the latter determination, they must freely & 
voluntarily decide in open Council, or in the presence of the 
Commissioner & myself ; & if any signed in our presence, in 


any place other than the council, either at his room or the 
Indian's house, that was to be left for the president to deter- 
mine whether it was a sufficient assent or not. 

I told the Judge that all our foreign diplomatic practice 
as well as that with the Indians was the warrant for the 
opinion I had expressed, & I hoped that the mode pursued 
here would be such as I could sanction ; for that I had no 
other object than a faithful discharge of my duty, as respects 
the indians the preemptioners, the U. S. & Massachusetts ; 
that I was impartial from principle & besides neither the 
state or myself had any interest in the question other than 
to see that the indians were dealt by, honestly & fairly. We 
had nothing to gain or lose let the result be for or against 
emigration. I was only anxious that I should so conduct 
as to have the approbation of my own conscience, & that 
what I said would bear the most thorough examination, & 
be not liable to censure, or denunciation, from any, even the 
slightest dereliction of duty. I did not undertake to dictate 
what should be done for I had no right so to do, I was a 
mere spectator, placed here, however, to see that everything 
was conducted properly, & report the mode of proceeding, 
& the result, an whether they met with my approbation or 
not. I was a mere looker on & bound to render a true ac- 
count of what I saw done. 

This morning I had an interview with Mr. Gillet the 
U. S. Commissioner, who informed me that Judge Stryker 
had imparted to him the conversation he had with me last 
evening, — above narrated, — & that he concured with me in 
opinion & should pursue the course, which I had consid- 
ered as the only true & honorable one ; & that he should 
this day lay the treaty before the Indians in Council for the 
signatures of such as assented to the amendments, & remain 
until next tuesday afternoon to receive the signatures of 
those who were sick, by going to their houses, & of such 
others as chose to come to his room, & that we should be 
able to go to Lewistown on Wednesday morning, hold a 
treaty with the Tuscaroras & leave for Ogdensburg in the 
Steamer United States in the afternoon. 

This morning I was called into the Commissioners room 


to witness the execution of a power of Atty. by John Tall- 
Chief a Seneca Chief, from Cattaraugus, who stated that he 
was afraid to sign the treaty in Council, as he had been 
threatened by the opposition chiefs, with fatal consequences 
if he did sign it any where, & as he was constantly watched, 
he came to give a power that he might go home. He had 
the power explained to him by the Interpreter Strong in our 
presence & said he free & voluntarily signed the power. 
Besides the persons named there were present Judge Stryker 
& George Jimenson a chief residing on this reservation. 
The power was to Captain Strong, of Cattaraugus. 

The Council met at 2, when the treaty was presented 
for signatures to the assent, after Mr. Gillet had read a letter 
from Mr. Wadsworth offering to give leases for life to such 
of the Indians as might wish to remain provided the treaty 
was ratified. There were sixteen signatures made in Coun- 
cil. Mr. Gillet informed the Chiefs that such as wished to 
sign might do [so] in his room in my presence & that those 
who were confined by sickness he should visit to obtain their 

Before the council adjourned, I was asked if I would 
remain after the Commissioner retired & witness a paper 
which the Chiefs, in opposition, wished to execute in my 
presence. I replied that I would cheerfully do what had been 
desired, for I deemed it my duty to comply with any proper 
request which was made of me, as the Superintendent of 

After the Council was adjourned, a dissent to the treaty, 
in the form of a declaration, in which it was stated, that 
they did not wish to sell their lands or remove west, was 
produced, & signed by 64 persons, — who Morris [Maris] B. 
Pierce said were chiefs, in my presence, & I signed my name 
as a witness to the transaction, one of the chiefs, by the name 
of Little Johnson then rose & thanked me, for the faithful 
& upright manner, in which I had discharged my duty, that 
my head was right & that they highly approved of my inde- 
pendent & impartial conduct, as the Superintendent of Mas- 
sachusetts. I replied that I had endeavored, faithfully to dis- 
charge my duty, that I felt a deep interest for their present 


& future welfare, and whether they remained here, or emi- 
grated to the west, they had my best wishes my most ardent 
prayers for their happiness & prosperity & I hoped the 
Great Spirit would watch over them & have them ever in his 
holy protection, & that they would conduct in such a manner, 
as would do honor to themselves, their nation & the charac- 
ter of the whole human family. 

I am rejoiced that the negociation is at last drawing to a 
close, & that it will end on tuesday next, for it has been the 
most tedious & least interesting business that I ever per- 
formed. To reason with the ignorant, & attempt to do good 
to the prejudiced, suspicious & most debased of the human 
species, is laboring without results, either gratifying to us or 
beneficial to them. Here has been a boon offered, which 
would depopulate any county in New England & hurry them 
to the west with glad & grateful hearts ; but these miserable 
savages are incapable of appreciating the generous humanity 
of the government. The worst of the whole matter, how- 
ever, is that interested white men, from the mean & selfish 
motives of self interest, have imposed themselves upon the 
credulity & stupidity of the Indians & induced them to be- 
lieve they were their warm, honest, & special friends, & as 
philanthropists were doing them a great kindness, when in 
fact they were their worst enemies ; for under those specious 
professions they have concealed the basest & most infamous 
& mean, low & despicable inducements to action. 

Alas ! for the poor Indians ; their destinies are lament- 
able. Here they are to become the poor, & most miserable 
of wretches, the most despised & worthless of the popula- 
tion, the mere slaves of those who are plundering the land 
& growing rich on their vices & necessities. God protect the 
once noble race of the Senecas, from the pretended mercies 
of the villainous white men. 

Sep 29. A dark & cloudy morning but mild. I have 
read within two days the July number of the London Quar- 
terly review. There is an article on Steam Navigation of a 
superior order. The views there disclosed are calculated to 
rouse the mind like a revalation from heaven. What a 
prospect for the future, how glorious for the present. No 


one can estimate the rapid & mighty march of nations, & 
espesially in this republic, which the improvements in all 
the sciences & arts & the roused energies of the people have 
& are accelerating. The next half century will produce 
results of grander moment than any which have been accom- 
plished in hundreds of years. Truth & Utility are the divi- 
nities which now guide the human race, and the most enlight- 
ened minds, — the brightest & most active geniuses, — the 
most enterprising & valorous spirits are all intensely & con- 
stantly laboring in harmonious cooperation, to develop the 
moral & physical resources of nations. The whole world is 
roused, as if by the trumpet of an arch-angel, into an excite- 
ment for improvement, which fills even the chieftains of this 
grand movement with amazement. On, on, is the universal 
shout of millions who are rushing forward in the glorious 
career of all the arts of civilization, of letters, science, free- 
dom, prosperity, wealth, happiness & glory. 

There is another clever article on the fine arts in the 
Quarterly, which I have read with great interest; for it is 
not a little singular, that I had a long discussion at the din- 
ner table of Mr. Wadsworth of Geneseo as I came on, with 
Professor Ren wick, & on that subject, & four or five other 
gentlemen. I asserted that the secret of the great success 
of the Greeks in sculpture, as well as the most eminent paint- 
ers, poets & writers of all time, was that their productions 
were true to nature, that they copied living man, & woman 
& the marks of nature in their statues & paintings & the pas- 
sions & attributes of the heart & mind — real characters, in 
what was written. Shakespeare & Scott were as much in- 
debted to the fidelity with which they described real existing 
objects, whether animate or inanimate, whether men or 
things, — the peculiarities of character & scenery, — the opera- 
tions of the intellect & the movements of the whole spirit of 
the human breast, as were Phidias, Praxiteles, Zeuxis, & all 
the eminent masters in sculpture & painting of ancient and 
modern. All were true to nature. They relied on truth, 
fact, and the fidelity of their works in all even the most 
minute details. I was strenuously opposed in this assump- 
tion, but the article I have named, contains extracts from 


some of the ablest writers on the fine arts, which maintain 
the same opinion & the author of the article fully concurs in 
that opinion. It is in fact the only way in which perfection 
ever has or can be attained in any work of genius & art. 
The poet the literator, the artist, & the man of sentiment & 
talent can only succeed by adhering rigidly to facts, truth & 

After breakfast, I walked down the shore of Buffalo 
Creek, & on returning, I discovered an oak, whose acorns, 
were enclosed in a much thicker & deeper cup or calyx than 
any other species I had ever seen, & the upper edge of the 
cup was beautifully fringed, with a moss-like appendage, 
which curled over, & gave the acorn the appearance of the 
moss-rose bud. I recollect that such an oak acorn is exhib- 
ited, in the plates of Michaux's North American Sylva & is 
called by him the "over-cup oak." on enquiry, I find this 
variety is called the swamp white-oak & is near equal for all 
useful purposes, as the white-oak, but not quite so tough. I 
have collected 30 acorns to plant in my garden. 

Mr O. Allen of Buffalo has given me a sample of very 
remarkable & excellent bituminous coal from a mountain 
which is in Ohio & Penn a , the strata is 5 feet thick & occu- 
pies a space of 360 acres. It is found there are 360 bushels 
to the acre, which would yield, of course 129,600,000 bush- 
els. There is a canal from Erie which will pass within a 
quarter of a mile of the coal. In the vicinity is inexhaustible 
deposits of iron ore. When the canal is completed, the coal 
can be brought & sold at Buffalo for 5 dollars per chaldron. 
It is very clean resembling the Kennel Coal, &-burns with a 
vivid blaze, leaving a white ashes like those of hickory, & 
nothing else, as there are no cinders, the whole of the coal 
being combustible. It makes a superb fire. 

I purchased a dozen little silver brooches, of an Indian, 
for my grand-child. 

Guizot, in his Essay on the History of France has dove 
deep into the ocean of the political & civil condition of na- 
tions, as far back as the foundation of the Roman empire & 
has revealed the weakness & the cause of the decadence & 


final ruin of that once mighty government poole. [So in 
MS. ?: "government and people."] 

There was no union of the municipal or local rights & 
power & those of the national. It was a despotism over com- 
munities, cities & towns, which were not participants in the 
general government. The city of Rome was the empire 
state & nation, & the rest of the vast possessions were treated 
as conquered places — as innumerable colonies & never em- 
bodied in the nation. There was no nationality of feeling, 
no union of principles, interests & right & when the head 
was destroyed all the numerous members, became so many 
distinct people, where there was no love for the Roman em- 
pire, no patriotism for the whole combined people, but each 
had its own local prejudices, feelings customs & laws; & 
were glad to be independent & no longer subject to a des- 
potic military power, whose seat was Rome. That was the 
throne & Kingdom. The court & the Nation, & all beyond 
was so many little states held in subjection by a mighty 
military force. This no longer is the condition of any Eu- 
ropean nation — the people are in some form represented, & 
united as one people. In many of them the people are di- 
rectly represented. Whereas the Roman empire was made 
of little, village, town or city republics in which the people 
ruled, by officers of their own choice, but the whole were 
subject to the iron sceptre of the sovereign whose palace was 
the magnificent the ''eternal city" of Rome, and when that 
was captured & the legions recalled or disbanded in the col- 
onies & municipalities they became so many nations, a vast 
number [of] different people speaking different languages & 
having different laws, customs, habits, occupations & means 
of support. They had no love or respect for Rome or the 
name of Romans, & gladly escaped from the exactions & 
plunderings of the imperial officers & government. This is 
a correct & yet a new & striking fact, which Mr. Guizot has 
fully illustrated by historical evidence. 

Here is another great truth. He says : — In barbarous as 
in civilized times, it is activity, that indefatigable activity. 
which is desirous of extending its existence in all directions 
& in every manner, — its name, — its influence — its empire, 


that causes a distinguished man to be recognized; — that 
makes an individual conspicuous & commanding. Superi- 
ority is an expansive living force, which contains in itself 
the principle, object & end of its action, — regards the world 
open before it as its domain, without being accountable to 
any one, & labors to overrun & seize it, & often without any 
other necessity, or any design, but that of its development & 
satisfaction. It acts, it may be said, as a predestined power, 
which marches, extends its influence, conquers, & subjugates 
to nourish its natural propensities & fulfill a mission which 
it does not know or comprehend." 

In passing over this rapidly flourishing country you are 
constantly reminded of the remarks of Chatteaubriand, — 
"There is nothing ancient but the forests." Still one feels 
a disposition, & a sort of hope & expectation that there is to 
be discovered some remains of antient nations, some traces 
of far distant periods of civilization in these fertile & vast 
regions ; but nothing appears. The only traces of a revolu- 
tion in the condition of the country are the trunks of trees, 
exposed in the bed of the Buffalo Creek, twelve feet below 
the surface of the bottom lands, which I have named ; and 
those only indicate a still longer period of the wilderness 
state, which must have existed for centuries before the geo- 
logical change which buried the preceding wilderness. 

Sunday, September, 30. The heavens are veiled in an 
apparent thick mist, which the rising sun will dissipate, un- 
less there should be clouds beyond, charged with rain. It 
is now so dark I can not decide whether this obscurity of the 
sky is merely thin vapor or not; but it seems to be. It is 
rather cool. Morris B. Pierce, brought me, yesterday after- 
noon a copy of the dissent to the treaty, of the opposition 
Chiefs, which I witnessed in the Council House on the after- 
noon of the 28th. I shew it to Mr. Gillet who desired to re- 
tain it, until he could make a copy. I requested him to ask 
Judge Stryker to make out for me, a list of all the chiefs, so 
far as he was able to ascertain the number, & to make a 
statement of such of the Indians, who signed the dissent, 
that were not considered chiefs. 

I went with the Commissioner & Judge Stryker yester- 


day to the house of Stevenson & Captain Pollard, two old 
chiefs who are sick & confined to their houses, to receive 
their signatures to the treaty, which they cheerfully gave. 
I presented Capt. Pollard an extract from Washington's 
Speech to Cornplanter Big tree & Farmers-Brother in 1790, 
in relation to the estimation in which they should [?hold] 
white men, who undertook to advise them against listening 
to the government agents of the United States & desired him 
to give it to his nephew Fox who would succeed him as a 
chief, & who is a very worthy & intelligent young man. 

The manners of Captain Pollard, are those of a gentle- 
man of the old school ; dignified gentle & mild in his deport- 
ment, he took my hand in both of his on our departure & 
bade me farewell with the grace of feeling of a patriarch. 
He is eighty years old & bent with the infirmities [of] age. 

I have written a report to the Governor this forenoon of 
13 pages, giving an account of the whole negociations, as 
minutely as possible. 

An Indian by the name of How-nes-how-a or Shanks, 
over 90 years of age, arrived here, this forenoon from Cat- 
taraugus, where he resides, distant 30 miles. He came on 
foot in two days. He is a vigorous intelligent & remarkable 
man. He has the activity & cheerfulness of persons not over 
50. He dined with us & said his friends had been so long 
absent, to hold a treaty here, that he came to see if they had 
not taken up their residence, & were making a farm. 

I rode up the right bank of Buffalo Creek towards 
Aurora about 3J/2 miles, to what is called the elbow. The 
bank at that place is at least 60 feet high on the side I was & 
the opposite is low & covered with a heavy growth of rock 
maple. The trees on the road are chiefly white oak. There 
is no bottom land after a mile above the Onondaga Council 
House. The last piece belongs to Young, who is sober & 
industrious for an Indian. His wife is a handsome & ex- 
cellent woman, & dresses richly & with taste in the Indian 
Costume. The waggon we rode in nearly upset & Mr. Gillet 
was thrown out, & I barely escaped the same accident. He 
was not injured. The road was horrible. 

Octo. 1. A beautiful morning & magnificent day. I was 


up soon after the dawn of day. The morning star alone 
blazed in the firmament, there was not a cloud & the aurora 
had quenched all the stars, save that which embelished the 
eastern sky. I wrote from 6 until 2, & copied & completed 
a report to the Governor of 23 pages. I sent off a letter to 
my wife of 12 pages, containing daily remarks for a week. 
I walked two hours, & got back at dusk. The night is lovely. 
We have had a continued period of hot weather since the 
17th of May, being 138 days. It is unprecedented in my life, 
& I find no one so old as to recollect such a season. 

Octo 2. The dry & delightful weather still continues. 
God grant we may conclude the negociations this day. 

Mr. Strong the Interpreter informed me that he had a 
conversation with his father Capt. Pollard & Blue-Eyes, in 
relation to the various treaties which had been held with the 
Senecas within their recollection. The two latter are chiefs 
over 50 years of age & the first is 65. Capt. Pollard was 
present, when the Commissioner Genl. Lincoln Col. Pick- 
ering & Govr. Randolph visited the Senecas on this Creek 
in 1793, & that the Chief, who is represented as speaking in 
the engraving annexed to Lincoln's Journal in the 5th. Vol. 
of the 3d Series of the Mass. Historical Collections, was a 
Mohawk by the name of Flying Sky & a particular friend of 
Capt. Brant the celebrated Mohawk Chief. 

The Indians called Lincoln "Big-Foot" & Pickering "The 
side-of-a-HUT' ; the former the large size of his feet & the 
other his remarkable profile. The side of a hill means the 
line, or contour of a steep acclivity, which has bold features. 

There was an Indian Dance at the Onondaga Council 
House, last night & a number of the gentlemen went, but I 
did not, as I have seen enough of such exhibitions, for the 

There not having been any frost since the 3d, & one or 
too nights soon after & they very slight, the foliage has 
changed but little as yet, still enough to give a subdued 
aspect to the autumnal scenery. A few white maples appear 
in the edge of the woods of a brilliant scarlet, & the beeches, 
have assumed a vellowish brown color, the hickories an 



orange, & other trees & shrubs, crimson & red, of various 

Buffalo City, Octo 2. Evening. The Council adjourned 
this afternoon at 4 oclock, to the 15th. of November, unless 
the. Commissioner should be directed to hold it at an earlier 
or later period. I came into this city this evening, and am to 
proceed to Lewiston to morrow morning, to hold a treaty 
with the Tuscarora Indians. I feel like a person who has 
just been liberated from a prison ; for so laborious & pro- 
tracted have been our deliberations, & the adjournment so 
often postponed, from day to day, that it seemed as if I were 
doomed, to the spot, & could not escape from it. Thanks to 
Almighty God! I have got out of the thraldom, &, at last, 
am 'Homeward Bound" & in excellent health. How cheer- 
ing my hopes. 

Doct Trowbridge* called to see me this evening, Genl. 
Potter, Mr. Wadsworth & other gentlemen. I wrote to 
Commissioner Everett; this evening I am to write to Doct. 
H. P. Wilcox Irving, Chattaqua County, New York 

The annexed letter was given me, by Mr. Strong, the 
Interpreter, at my special request, to illustrate the engraving 
of the Council at Buffalo Creek in 1793. I wished to make 
it certain who the Chief was that was speaking & it is now 
certain his name was Flying Sky. Mr. Strong is preparing 
a long account of the indian negociations & facts of interest, 
concerning the Six & other nations, obtained from the old 
chiefs of the Sennecas, who attended the Council which has 
just adjourned. Capt. Pollard, Blue Eyes & Capt Strong are 
chiefs of the old school. Correct in their habits, dignified, 
yet modest in their deportment, with the manners of gentle- 
men, who had mingled much in society. They are the real 
patriarchs of their tribe. God bless them. 

Buffalo Creek Oct. 2 d 1838. 
Genl. Dearborn, 

Sir. Capt. Pollard states, that the Council held on the 
Buffalo Creek 1793, (as mentioned in Genl Lincoln's Jour- 
nal) In which Genl Lincoln (Otherwise called by the Indians 

* Josiah Trowbridge, M. D. 


Haw-Seh-daw-das — the English of it is, "Thick Foot") Col. 
Pickering, otherwise called Gaw-ne-a-Sa-deh — "One side of 
the hill") and Mr. Randolph Commissioner of the United 
States. The orator mentioned in the journal, and the ac- 
companying Sketch, was a Mohawk Chief, Colleague of 
Capt Brandts,* by the name of "Flying Sky" — Capt Pollard 
further states, that, at the above mentioned Council, Capt 
Brandt was at Sandusky or at Detroit, As Brandt came as 
passenger in the Vessel came down the Lake; after the 
Commissioners above mentioned — Brandt returned with 
them & the rest of the Seneca Chiefs up the Lake- 
Note. This Statement of Capt Pollard explains why the 
duty of making Speech to the Commissioners fell upon the 
Chief Flying Sky — had Capt Brandt been present at the 
Council, he undoubtedly would have made the Speech. 

Your friend 


October 3. It was a dark & rainy night, but the sun ha., 
come out bright this morning & we shall have a favorable 
day to descend the Niagara river, in the Red-Jacket Steamer, 
to the Falls. Breakfasted, in company with Mr. Gillet & Mr. 
Wadsworth, at Genl. Potter's. I took a walk down to the 
harbor once more to behold the bustle & activity of this flour- 
ishing emporium of the great interior commerce & trade ; it 
is the aquatic Palmira of the United States, between the 
Mediterraneans of this continent & the Atlantic, where the 
intercommunicating caravans of navigation, meet & ex- 
change their cargoes, from the Ocean & the mighty rivers & 
lakes of the west. 

Lewiston Octo 3. Afternoon. I left Buffalo, in company 
with Mr. Gillet, U. S. Commissioner, & Strong the Inter- 
preter this morning at 9 oclock, in the Steamboat Red Jacket, 

* Joseph Brant, whose name was usually written "Brandt" until recent years. 
The writer of this letter, "Hon-non-de-ah," was Nathaniel T. Strong, a Seneca 
chief living at Irving, N. Y., and in his later years a corresponding member of 
the Buffalo Historical Society. We are indebted to him for the most plausible 
explanation of the way in which Buffalo River received its name. (See Buffalo 
Historical Society Publications, Vol. I., pp. 38-42.) He died Jan. 4, 1872. The 
Captain Strong mentioned in the journal, was another man. Some picturesque 
reminiscences of N. T. Strong are given by Samuel M. Welch in his "Recol- 
lections of Buffalo." 



came [to] Fort Scholson [Schlosser]. there took the rail 
road cars for the Niagara Falls, which we reached at half 
past eleven. The morning was bright & clear, after a heavy 
shower during the night, & the scenery was truly beautiful, 
for autumn had arrayed the forest trees in sumptuous man- 
tles of crimson, scarlet, orange, yellow & brown & all the 
shades of green, were still conspicuous, which gave to the 
American & Canadian shores, the enchanting effect. As we 

approached the mighty cataract, the eternal cloud which 
hangs over its awful abyss, announced, the position of that 
"Hell of Waters." There w r as a solitary little boat — with a 
single [person] in it a fishing, anchored within a third of a 
mile of the terific rapids. There was not another boat, or 
vessel of any kind on the vast sheet of water visible from the 
American bank to that of Chippawa, & as far up the river as 
the eye extended to the vast tumultuous current, which 
swept onward, from the first ripple of the rapids until it 
leaped in one tremendous plunge down the lofty precipice 
with an earth-quake shock, & the thunders of an equitorial 
tempest, when Jove launches his most furious bolts from his 
celestial artillery. I met Meredith Sullivan at the Cataract 



Hotel just from St. Lewis via Chicago, We hired a hack & 
went to Lewiston where we arrived at half past one. We 
met at the Frontier House Hotel Cusick, Chem, Mount 
pleasant & Chiefs of the Tuscarora Indians who we had re- 
quested to meet us there to conclude a contract with the 
Ogden Company for the sale of their timber lands. 

After dinner we met them in Council, when they stated, 
that all the other Chiefs were absent, at Lockport & else- 
where when the express arrived the evening before with my 
letter, & there not being a majority present & none of their 
warriors, they could not execute the contract. The Com- 
missioners informed them that as the object of the sale was 
to obtain, in advance three thousand dollars, of the amount 
which would be due from the Ogden Company, when they 
removed West, in conformity to the Treaty with the United 
States, that amount might be procured, by a petition [to] 
Congress, in anticipation of the sum to be paid them when 
they should reach their new homes in the Indian territory. 
I concurred in that opinion, & we recommended that a peti- 
tion should then be drawn up, for the Ogden Company did 
not wish the contract executed & they had only agreed to it 
at their request, for the purpose of supplying them with 
money to pay off their debts & defray the expense of an ex- 
ploring company to their land in the west, next spring. 

They said that they should prefer the application to Con- 
gress & requested Mr. Gillet to prepare a memorial which 
he did & they signed it in our presence & that of Strong. 
We also added our earnest recommendation that the favor 
desired should be granted. 

I went where the road from Fort Niagara, enters the 
main street of Lewiston, & stood on the very spot at that 
juncture, where I sat on horseback, with my ever beloved & 
honored father, in July 1813. I was returning home with 
him from the American camp at Fort George. He was ac- 
companied by several officers & a squadron of horse under 
the command of Majr S. D. 'Harris (now Lt. Col.) we halted 
at that point to look at Queenstown & the Heights where the 
battle was fought, early in the war & a battery directly op- 
posite. Soon many officers were seen on the parapet & one 


of our officers observed to my father, that they had better 
move up the road to the tavern distant two miles where he 
intended to pass the night, for the enemy would perceive 
there were many officers in the group & would soon, in all 
probability open a fire upon us. My father smiled said it was 
a long shot & we would take our chance for the few minutes, 
which were desired to observe the various points of interest, 
on the opposite shore. He wished to know exactly where 
our troops landed where the first action was fought where 
Col. Brock was killed our troops surrendered & all the other 
interesting incidents of the day. No shots were fired. 

I stood on that very spot, where my good father, was be- 
side me, twenty five years ago. How distinctly he was pres- 
ent, in my minds eye. I heard his voice, saw his calm & dig- 
nified face, his noble martial port & veteran look as if he 
were again there on his superb gray charger. I looked up 
to heaven, & called upon him to look down upon me, & bless 
me, to intercede for me with our merciful heavenly parent, 
& cause my course of life to be prosperous & happy ; and to 
my kind & good mother to unite her affectionate prayers 
with his in my behalf & that of my dear wife & darling chil- 
dren. O ! how sad, how mournful & yet how pleasing to my 
soul was that moment, when I seemed to meet the spirits of 
my kind & beloved father & mother; when I saw them & 
heard their voices & with what a tender & feeling look they 
gazed upon me. I turned away at last & slowly returned to 
the hotel, but was too much affected to enter it & went into 
the garden & there walked until I was collected & consoled. 
God bless my dear parents, my wife, my children & myself 
I implore thee. 

At seven oclock we went on board the Steamer United 
States. The moon was full, the sky cloudless & the air 
calm & bland. On looking up the river, as the fire-moved 
Leviathan moved down the majestic Niagara, Brock Monu- 
ment* stood distinct & alone on the horizontal heights of 
Queenstown & its symetrical profile was strikingly visible 
on the dark blue firmament beyond, & then turning towards 

* This was the first monument to General Brock, which stood some distance 
to the east of the present shaft, and was destroyed by miscreants, April 16, 1840. 


Lake Ontario, the Light House in Fort Niagara blazed like 
a planet, indicating the site of that celebrated mark & the 
shore of the first great urn of the St Lawrence, while on the 
left the village near Fort George, was rendered visible by 
the refulgent moonlight. And soon after the boat came to 
just below that fortress. Again my dear father was present ; 
it was there I visited him, but a few weeks after the battle, 
& there I passed ten days with him before we left for home. 
Again I appealed to him for again I saw him in the midst of 
his camp of 5,000 men. I saw all the officers take leave of 
him, when many a hero's eye was moist, for they all honored, 
respected & loved him. Who that knew him could withhold 
their veneration & profound esteem. He was a patriot & a 
soldier, with [out] fear & without reproach. He was in the 
fullest meaning of the word a great, & good man. May I 
emulate his noble virtues & may my children & theirs be as 
worthy of commendation & of a nations gratitude. 

Octo. 4. The Lake was as smooth as a river last night & 
we entered the Genesee at 3 oclock, this morning I got up & 
walked the deck until we reached the landing, three miles 
from its mouth, & two & a half from Rochester. We came 
to at 4, but broke the shaft of one wheel, when half way up 
the river. I went up to Rochester in a light waggon, with 
the Steward of the boat, walked about the city & crossed 
the aqueduct, just as the sun was rising; at seven left in the 
rail-road cars to return to the landing. What a change, 
since I was at the Genesee falls in 181 3 ! Then there was a 
miserable single saw mill & log hut on the west side of the 
falls & a small one story house just raised & partly boar[d]ed 
on the east side & now there is a city of 18,000 inhabitants. 
Never in any age, has human intelligence, industry & enter- 
prise produced such glorious, such wonderful results as in 
this country since the Revolution. 

The river is most enchantingly picturesque, the precipi- 
tous banks are from 150 to 200 feet high & covered with 
trees to the very edge of the water. At the mouth are some 
eight or ten buildings & a Lt. House. We got under way at 
eight & are now dashing on through Lake Ontario, which has 
a smooth surface a clear sky & gentle breeze from the west ; 


but can only use one wheel ; still we hope to reach Oswego 
by dark. 

There are 20 steamboats & over 100 schooners on the 
lake & only one brig". The schooners which can pass the 
Welling [Welland] Canal are about 120 tons burden. The 
Steam Boats begin to run on the first of April & Continue to 
navigate between all the ports, from Ogdensburg to Lewis- 
ton until the 15th. of November, & often later. Genl. 
Macomb Lady & Aid de Camp are with us bound to Sackets 

Oswego. Octo. 5. We arrived at this place at 4 yester- 
day afternoon. I walked over the town & a beautiful flour- 
ishing little Lake emporium it is. At the mouth of the 
river, two break-waters have been erected by the U. S. 
government at an expense of 100,000 dollars, & now an 
other vast sum is being expended in the construction of a 
stone wall surmounted by parapet wall to prevent the sea 
from breaking over into the harbor. On the end of the 
western pier is a neat stone Light House. The Erie Canal 
has a branch which comes to this place. The water [power] 
however from the rapids is immense ; & there are 7 flowering 
mills, with 41 run of stones that can manufacture 30 barrels 
of flour a day each, making 1230 barrels per day. There are 
also two cotton factories, a machine manufactory, a moroco 
manufactory, ax factory, some mills, a large forge & from 
70 to 80 schooners owned in the town. 

On the western point of the harbor is a portion of an old 
French fort, the remainder having been leveled for the 
purpose of filling up a wharf & making a street & house & 
stone lots on the site. On the hill a quarter of a mile south 
westerly from this old military mark is a portion of another 
erected by Genl. Amherst, when he took Oswego from the 
French in the war of 63.* 

On the eminence at the eastern entrance of the harbor is 
a large field work with four bastions, which was erected by 

* This statement, and the allusion to Montcalm that follows, as the student 
of our history will discern, are far from accurate. Montcalm captured Oswego 
in 1756, but the French abandoned the place. Gen. Amherst occupied the point 
in 1759, prior to his Quebec campaign, but there being no opposition, he can 
hardly be said to have taken it from the French. 


General Amherst, at the time he besieged the french garrison 
on the opposite point. It had a ditch, & was secured against 
an escalade by palisades. This important fortification was 
taken by Montcalm in 176 — surrendered to the British after 
the capture of Quebec by the army of Genl. Wolf. During 
the last war with Great Britain it was garrisoned with 300 
troops under the command of Col. Mitchel, & was attacked 
by a combined naval & military force, under the command 
of Sir James Yeo & Genl. Drummond. They landed 2,500 
men & after a gallant defence of several hours, the American 
troops effected their retreat with the loss of about an 
hundred killed wounded & prisoners. The enemy had 300 
killed & wounded. Sir James received a wound in his leg. 

Octo 5. Afternoon. Left Oswego at eight o'clock in 
the morning, for Kingston in the Steamer Great Britain, & 
arrived at 2 oclock in the afternoon. There was a stiff 
breeze, but the day was surpassing beautiful, cloudless & 
warm. I walked over Kingston, visited the new stone 
barracks in the north-eastern part of the town, where there 
is a regiment, the 49th, I think, it was called. Opposite 
Kingston is the navy yard, & on the height which overlooks 
it a large fort, revetted with stone is being completed, with 
stone barracks. There is not a single armed' vessel on Lake 
Ontario in the British service, The wrecks of some of the 
ships belonging to Sir James Yeo's fleet during the last war 
are to be seen above the water, at the upper end of the naval 
harbor, & that of the 120 gun ship was pointed out to me. 
Kingston is situated on a bed of gray limestone, which is 
but partially covered with earth. I observed in one of the 
streets leading from the water, the print of a man's foot very 
distinctly made in one of the flag stones of the side wide 
[walk] on the north side. It was large & the foot was 
evidently covered with a mocasin. 

The transportation from Montreal to Kingston is by 
small steam boats up the Rad [blank in original; Rideau] 
canal ; & from Kingston to Montreal by the St Lawrence in 
steam boats & batteaus. The population of Kingston is 
[blank in original] It was formerly called Fort Frontenac. 

I left Kingston at 4 oclock in the afternoon in the British 


Steamer Brockville. There was on board Capt Eckles oi 
the British Army & two other officers. The former was the 
bearer of an Address to Lord Denham [? Durham], from 
Niagara, which he was so polite as to show me. He 
appeared a very well informed & was a very gentlemanly 
officer; had been in the Peninsular war & from a wound 
received in that service was obliged to carry his right arm 
in a sling of broad black ribband. 

In descending the St Lawrence, the boat stoped at 
Morristown on the American shore & one other little village 
on the Canadian. The afternoon being calm & the night 
cloudless, & splendidly lighted up by the full orbed moon, 
the scenery of the thousand Islands was wonderfully beauti- 
ful & intensely interesting. The islands are from many 
miles in extent down to a mere dot on which stood a single 
tree, or a small bunch of shrubs not larger than a basket of 
flowers. Some being ioo feet high & others rising but just 
above the surface of the water. The river where it expands 
into Lake Ontario is some 20 miles wide & gradually dimin- 
ishes until between Ogdensburg & Prescot it is only a mile 
& a half in width. 

The boat reached Ogdensburg at eleven oclock in the 
evening where I landed with Mr. Gillet, who resides in that 

Ogdensburg. October 6. This town is siuated on the 
Oswegatchie, & contains between 2,500 & 3,000 inhabitants. 
There was a fort on the point on the western side of the 
entrance into the mouth of the river built by the french 
during the wars with Great Britain. The wall & chimnies 
of the stone barracks are still standing. At Prescot is a 
large stone fortress called Fort Wellington, which was 
erected during the last war, & is now being repaired. 
Prescot has a population of 800 to 1000. 

I went in company with Mr. Daniel Judson of this place 
at nine oclock this morning, to the lead mines in the town 
of Rossie, in Lawrence County distant thirty miles, near the 
upper end of Black Lake. The mine runs through a granit 
hill, or ridge, which is about 60 feet above the level of the 
water courses & is from one to three feet wide. The ore or 


galena which is in beautiful crystals of sulphate of lead, is 
mixed with lime stone, & among it are beautiful rhomboidal 
crystals which are doubly refractive. I have collected speci- 
mens of the granite, lime stone, galena & chrystals. There 
is ioo tons of pig lead produced by the two companies, 
which are now working the mines each month. There are 
two hundred men employed at each. The ore is carted a 
mile & a half to a stream that falls into Black Lake, where 
are works for crushing the mineral, washing, separating it 
from the lime stone & smelting it. The lead is sent to New 
York, via Black lake Morristown & the St Lawrence and 
Lake to Oswego & from thence by the canal to Albany. 

Mr. Parish has extensive Iron works at Rossie. The 
ore is obtained within nine miles & brought to Rossie, for 
smelting & making into pig & pan iron, that being the nearest 
place where water power can be commanded for the 
necessary works. 

There is a range of lime stone & sand stone mixed which 
extends from the left bank of the Oswegatchie, near 
Ogdensburg to the uppeY end of Black Lake, running par- 
allell thereto, & ending precipitate toward the lake but 
stoping gradually towards the north. It is exposed naked 
in many places & there are to be seen grooves cut, as if 
large stones had been draged over it, some of them a quarter 
of an inch deep, in parallel lines which run from a little east 
of north to a little west of south. They are evidently the 
traces of an immense flood which swept in that direction 
over this country. There are no organic remains in the lime 
or sand stone. They are both found in separate beds & used 
for building, & the former when polished is a greyish 
marble with white blotches & stripes. They are in layers 
of from 6 to 10 inches & brake transversely, with quite c 
smooth surface & make a handsome wall, & a little distance 
look like hammered stone, as they can be selected of such 
uniform thickness, as to make regular courses. Many of 
the dwelling houses & stores are built of it & several 

Mr. Van Rensellier [Van Rensselaer], a son of the 
patroon who resides in Albany, has an elegant seat a mile & 


a half above this town, on a height which slopes down to 
the St Lawrence. He has an extensive garden & green 

Ogdensburg, Octo. 7. I did not get back from Rossie 
until midnight, for it began to rain just as we left the lead 
mines, at half past four & when we had got on six miles it 
rained so violently & was so dark we were obliged to stop 
at a tavern until nearly 8 oclock for the storm to abate & 
the [moon] to rise, to enable us to keep the road. I have 
had one of my tremendous headaches all day, & still I have 
been obliged to write from six oclock until five, to complete 
the papers with Mr. Gillet connected with the negociations 
with the Indians. I have also written a letter to Isaac 
Ogden Esq., — who lives 18 miles below on an island in the 
St Lawrence, where he has a grand farm, in relation to a 
canal or rail-road from Ogdensburg to Lake Champlain. I 
had a letter of introduction to him from his brother, I. L. 
Ogden Esq. of New York & intended to have gone down 
there this afternoon & passed the night, to converse with him 
on tne subject of the proposed line of intercommunication, 
for the reasons stated in the annexed copy of my letter, & 
take the steam boat early next morning at a point on the 
Canada shore directly opposite but the treaty papers, & my 
headache has prevented me from an excursion, which I had 
anticipated with pleasure, as Mr. Ogden has one of the best 
cultivated farms on the river. Annexed is the letter. 

Ogdensburg, Octo. 7. 1838. 
Dear Sir. The enclosed letter, from your highly 
esteemed brother, I intended to have done myself the honor 
of delivering in person, this afternoon, & to have asked the 
favor of being put on the Canada shore, to take the Steam 
Boat early in the morning, for Montreal ; — but a violent 
headache, to which I am periodically subject, has confined 
me to the Hotel all day. I regret, extremely, that I have 
thus been deprived of the pleasure of seeing you, & your 
celebrated Island farm, as well as the opportunity of con- 
versing with you, in relation to the contemplated rail-road 
or Canal, to Lake Champlain, from this place, in which I 
feel a deep interest ; for if either is constructed, Massa- 


chusetts, New Hampshire Vermont & Maine will derive 
great advantages therefrom. The former state aided by N. 
Hampshire & Vermont will, in a few years, have either a 
canal, or rail road from, as high as Newbury, on Connecticut 
river, down the valley of that river to Springfield, to connect 
with the rail-road, from thence to Boston, which will be 
completed next year; & as Vermont has long contemplated, 
the construction of a Canal or Rail-Road, from Lake Cham- 
plain to the Connecticut, not far from Newbury, the trade 
of the great Lakes will be opened to those states ; while 
Maine will simultaneously construct, either a canal or rail- 
road from Portland to the Connecticut & become a maratime 
emporium for the products of the Mighty West, as well as 
the depot of supply of many of the articles, which are now 
furnished, to the rapidly increasing population of that vast 
region, by means of the New York & Pennsylvania Canals 
& railroads. 

A survey will be made next year ; I have learned from 
the citizens of Portland, of a route for a rail-road, from 
that city to the valley of Connecticut river, & they will be 
powerfully stimulated to commence its construction, if a line 
of intercommunication is opened, from the St. Lawrence, 
near Ogdensburg to Lake Champlain. I was not a little 
astonished to see a waggon load of flour, at Littleton, in 
New Hampshire, which is situated on the Ammanusick, 
about fifteen miles west of the notch of the White Mountains, 
which came from Rochester, via the Erie Canal, the New 
York Northern Canal, & Lake Champlain, to Burlington in 
Vermont, & from thence, by land transportation, across that 
state, to the place above named. The gentleman to whom 
it belonged, informed me, that — flour was thus brought to 
that town, & others in the valley of Connecticut river, in 
New Hampshire & Vermont, cheaper than from Portland, 
although the distance to the latter city was only ninety miles. 
If then the facilities, which the proposed lines of transporta- 
tion will afford, are secured, it is evident that a large portion 
of those four states, will have a direct & extensive trade with 
the count [r]y, which is situated on the Lakes & their tribu- 


tary rivers, as well as that watered by the Missouri, Illinois 
& the Mississippi, above St. Lewis 

You will do me a great favor, by communicating such 
information, as you may possess, in relation to the measures 
which are now being taken, for the purpose of ascertaining 
the practicability of & the probability of the completion of a 
canal, or rail-road from Ogdensburg to Lake Champlain. 
I hope, if practicable, a canal will first be made, for it is 
now the settled opinion of the ablest Engineers, as well as 
of the most intelligent & distinguished men who have made 
it a subject of inquiry, in England, France and this country, 
that a rail-road is not a sufficient substitute for a canal, 
however admirably it replaces stage-coaches, & the other old 
modes of conveyance, for the human family. & the ex- 
perience of your own state fully justifies & illustrates, the 
correctness of that opinion. In fact, both lines of inter- 
communication are indispensable, to subserve the interests of 
every branch of national industry ; & they both must & will 
be constructed, where either has been completed, or is 

The land on the Canada & American shores is generally 
very barren, from the near approach of the rock formation 
to the surface ; & in fact being entirely denuded of soil to a 
very considerable extent. The islands below are generally 
fertile & there are portions of the main land which are ex- 
cellent for tillage. 

The country is but thinly settled. On the American side 
the inhabitants are chiefly emigrants from New England ; 
that "Universal Yankee Nation," as Mr. Jefferson emphati- 
cally distinguished that adventurous enterprising, in- 
dustrious & emigrating, navigating, trading & wandering 
people. They are to be seen as the pioneers all over the 
Union, or wherever there is any business to be transacted. 
or work done that promises favorable results. Their in- 
telligence, knowledge, of the mechanical arts, manufactures, 
navigation, trade & commercial affairs, is perceivable all 
over the country ; for wherever there is any labor or 
business done which requires energy* & untiring industry 
there they are sure to be found, even in Canada. 


October 8. I left Ogdensburg last evening at half past 
7 with Mr. Gillet in the Steam-boat, crossed over to Prescot, 
on the Canada shore, where freight & passengers were taken 
on board & got under way down the St Lawrence at 8. 
Passed a strong rapid at 9 distant 12 miles from Ogdensburg 
& at ten the De Plot* rapid, in which the water is thrown 
into foaming waves ; reach Dickenson's Landing at eleven, 
where we remained until seven, The village of Waddington 
on the American shore, 18 miles below Ogdensburg, was 
conspicuous, in the moon light, & from the blazing chimney 
of a furnace which wast[?]. Opposite Waddington is 
Ogden's island containing 900 acres of the best land in the 
northern part of New York & Air. Ogden has on it the best 
cultivated farm. He has built a bridge from his island to 
the main land a quarter of a mile in length, & obtained a 
vast water power by throwing a dam across the rapid, where 
he has a large flour mill. There are in Waddington, besides 
the furnace & flour mill several saw mills, cording & fulling 
mills, a grist-mill & other machinery. It is a flourishing 

Dickensons Landing, October 8. I got up at 4. The 
day was just slightly illuming the north eastern horizon but 
the moon, planets & stars, spangled the blue vault of heaven 
like burnished flakes of silver. A profound calm & stillness 
rested over all the works of nature, save the murmur sent 
up by the furious "long rapids" just below, where we were 
moored. Took stages at seven for Cornwall, where we 
arrived at half past 8; distance 12 miles. 

There is a ship canal being constructed on the Canada 
shore past the Long Sault, which is nearly completed. It is 
eleven miles long, ten feet deep, 100 feet wide at the bottom 
& 140 at the top. The locks are 180 feet long & 55 feet 
wide. There are six lift locks, which overcome an elevation 
of 40 feet. They are admirable works of masonry, being 
constructed of a black compact marble which is obtained 
from a quarry within three miles of the canal. 

The locks are all finished & most of the enormous gates 
are made and hung. They have been constructed by an 

* Rapid Deplau, below Waddington. 


American. This important work has been executed by the 
government of Upper Canada, & has cost 1,500,000 dollars 
& will require 150,000 dollars more to complete it; but 
owing to the depressed & agitated condition of the country 
the labor has been suspended, save the work now being done 
on the Lock gates, & a few men employed in the excavation. 
The money was chiefly borrowed in England at 6 per cent 
redeemable in 1850. The excavation is through earth, 
entirely, composed of loam clay & sand. The canal runs on 
the immediate margin of the St Lawrence & has been con- 
structed by removing the earth, for the bed of the canal & 
forming an embankment on the margin of the river. 

We entered the Steam boat Henry Brougham at Corn- 
wall & passed down to Coteau Du Lac, distance 41 miles, 
there we took stages to the cascades & then entered the 
Steam Boat Dolphin, for Lachine, which is 24 miles, & again 
landed & passed on to Montreal in stages, which is 9 miles 
from Lachine. 

The land is excellent all the way from near Ogdensburg 
to Montreal, on both sides of the St. Lawrence, & on all the 
islands, but the villages & houses are miserable & the tillage 
but little attended to on the Canadian shore. The houses 
are log or timber, & very small & badly constructed. The 
population poor, ignorant & in a wretched condition. The 
information, in relation to the Canal I obtained from Mr. 
Harvey, who has been a contractor for making the excava- 
tions. He came with us from Prescot to Cornwall. The 
banks of the St Lawrence are not more than from 10 to 20 
feet above the water & the land is generally level, or undu- 
lating into gently elevated hills. The soil until within some 
20 miles of Montreal is a black sandy loam, & for the re- 
maining distance clay loam & sand. 

The mountain region which extends from near the north- 
ern end of Lake Champlain, in a south westerly direction 
made a grand back scape to the scenery from Cornwall to 
Montreal. The summits are rounded, or present long lines. 
of horizontal & undulating, contours, with now & then a 
conical profile. They were bathed in a mellow blewish haze. 

Mr. Gillet landed at the St Regis Indian village between 


Cornwall & Coteau Du Lac, to conclude a treaty with that 
tribe. He gave me a sample of copper ore — the sulphate, 
from a mine in Canton about 20 miles N. E. from Ogdens- 
burg. The mine is reported to be extensive & prolific. Capt. 
Laing of the British Army & Mr. Griffin, the Supervisor of 
the Post offices in Lower Canada and Mr. Rombuck brother 
of the great agitator (his wife and Mr. Cadinou's of Boston 
are sisters) came down from Prescott in company & I found 
them both intelligent & agreeable gentlemen. The former 
was on the north western frontier under Genl. Proctor dur- 
ing the last war. He was also in Lord Wellington's army 
in Spain Portugal & France. 

He informed me that a council of war was held by Proc- 
tor, to decide whether the army should oppose the landing 
of the troops under Genl Harrison, or fall back to the Mo- 
ravian village & that Tecumsah was decidedly opposed to 
abandoning their position. He was indignant at the propo- 
sition & declared to Proctor that, if he retreated, the Indians, 
amounting to 3,000 would consider themselves as abandoned, 
& all leave his camp ; if he really intended to fight that was 
the most commanding position. Proctor replied that he did 
not intend to retreat but merely fall back to a position which 
he could defend & be in connection with his depot of pro- 
visions & the other wing of the army in Upper Canada ; & 
by great persuasion he at last induced Tecumsah to remain, 
but all the indians returned to their several settlements on 
the upper lakes, but about 500. 

Proctor did not intend to engage Harrison, but so 
maneuver as to reach the division of the army at the head 
of Huntington Bay, on Lake Ontario. To effect that object 
he moved to the Moravian village, & there very improperly 
remained for three days, when he might have advanced so 
rapidly east that Genl. Harrison could not have overtaken 
him; in fact the latter had abandoned the idea of pursuit, 
until he heard of Proctor's halt & then determined to attempt 
[to] bring him to action. Capt. La[i]ng was in the Grena- 
diers & posted on the extreme left near the bank of the river 
Thames, & on his right were the indians under the command 
of Tecumsah. The charge of the mounted Riflemen under 
Col. Johnson decided the action. 



After the surrender of the British troops Capt. Laing 
requested permission to go into the woods, to find a brother 
officer, — the present Col. [blank in original] Adjt Genl. of 
the army & now stationed at Toronto, who [he] heard was 
wounded & left on the ground. Four soldiers of the Ameri- 
can army went with him but his search was unsuccessful as 
his fellow officer had not fallen. On returning he discov- 
ered an Indian laying on the ground dead, who he instantly 
recognized as Tecumsah & exclaimed, God there is poor 
Tecumsah slain. When he got back to camp, he informed 
Genl Harrison of Tecumsah's death, who instantly replied, 
I will immediately send out & have him brought in & 
buried with military honor, for he was a brave & noble fel- 
low whose character & heroic conduct I honor. The news 
however, had been spread through the camp by the soldiers 
who accompanied Capt La[i]ng & a number had gone out 
[and] disgracefully mangled the body of the gallant Indian 
Chieftain before those sent by Genl. Harrison reached the 
place. The body was nevertheless brought to camp & in- 
terred with all that respect which is ever due to a brave man 
who falls in battle. 

Capt Laing was in the action in which Dudley was de- 
feated ; He stated that the American officers & soldiers who 
were made prisoners, in the action were placed in a sort of 
hollow or dell near the Miama river, & sentinals placed over 
them, to protect them from the Indians; but that the Pota- 
wattamies Wyandots & other distant tribes who were not 
in the action & thirsted for blood rushed upon the sentinals 
slew two of them with their tomahawks & commenced an in- 
discriminate murder of the prisoners, when Tecumsah 
rushed to the spot & checked the barbarians in their hellish 
exploit. He informed the cowardly rascals if they had been 
his indians he would have put to death every one who had 
been concerned in such an infamous transaction. 

Capt. Laing also informed me that he was in the attack 
on Fort Sandusky which Crochgan [Croghan] defended so 
gallantly. That Genl. Proctor having been foiled in his 
movement for [blank in original] he concluded to make a 
dash on the fort of Sandusky before returning to give some 


eclat to his expedition, but that he was entirely ignorant of 
the character of the work, & did not even send to have a 
reconnaisance made before ordering it to be taken by assault. 
There was a ditch on three sides, which was not discovered 
until the British troops were close to him. They wound in 
colum toward the face at right angles with the river, the 
right being destined to storm the low curtain, the centre the 
longest & the left the other end. As the column moved 
passed it [was] assailed by a well directed & rapid fire, for 
there were muskets enough in the garrison to furnish each 
soldier with four & all being loaded, they were all dis- 
charged in quick succession. The left leaped into the ditch 
as well to escape the fire of the musketry as to attempt to 
enter the works, & when it was completely filled a masked 
gun concealed by a kind of gun port, was brought to bear 
near the bottom of the ditch & the first fire was so destruc- 
tive that several officers were killed & about 40 soldiers were 
either killed or wounded. 

Capt Laing was kept as a hostage on whom to retaliate, 
in the event any of the American officers were executed as 
had been threatened. He was confined for many months in 
the Penitentiary of Frankfort Kentucky, & came very near 
dying of a violent fever which his unpleasant situation pro- 

Montreal. Tuesday, Octo. 9. I arrived here last even- 
ing at 9 oclock. I found from the earnest conversation of 
the Canadian passengers on my way from Kingston, that 
there was great excitement, in relation to the conduct of 
Brogham [Brougham] & the Ministry towards Lord Dur- 
ham, & that so uneasy & alarmed were the people generally, 
from the apprehension of a rebellion, in some parts of the 
provinces, and incursions of American partizans along the 
whole length of the frontier, as well as the ill consequences 
to the Canadas if Lord Durham should return to England 
as he had declared he would, in consequence of the attack 
made upon him by Lord Brogham, & the shameful manner 
in which Lord Melburn [Melbourne] & the other ministers 
had allowed him to be assailed, without the least effort being 
made to defend him. Addresses have been sent to Lord 


Durham within the last week from Quebec, Montreal, 
Kingston, Toronto & all the other towns in both Canadas 
urging him not to leave the country, & it is now reported 
that he certainly will not before January if he does then ; As 
the peculiarly constructed boats, which are used to navigate 
the St Lawrence the river & Rondeau [Rideau] canal are 
called Durham, the following punning toast occurred to me 
as we were towing one from the Cascades to Lachine last 
evening : 

"The newly launched Durham Boat : — It is too substan- 
tial & ponderous, to be swept from its direct & triumphant 
course amidst the conflicting currents of Canada by the im- 
potent flourish of a Broom, however successfully that instru- 
ment; may some times be employed, to raise such a dust in 
the House of Lords, as to bewilder even a Prime Minister." 

The name of Lord Brogham is pronounced Broom, & 
Lord Melborn the prime minister, was so fearful that the 
bill introduced by Lord Brogham nullifying & denouncing 
the Ordinance of Lord Durham, in relation to the persons 
who had been arrested as rebels, that he informed the Lords 
the next day the ministry had determined to recommend to 
the Queen, the propriety of her Majesty's declaring the 
ordinance unauthorized- What a contemptible act to save 
themselves, they have sacrificed Lord Durham ; who has 
been one of the ablest of the whig party & who has been a 
special advisor & friend of the Queen mother & Victoria. 
Mean & cowardly wretches. 

Montreal. Evening of Octo. 9. 1 1 oclock I have just 
completed my report & all the papers illustrative thereof 
which are 22 in number & make 73 pages of my own writing 
& 61 of copies of affiadavits letters &c. &c. &c. amounting to 
134 pages. Thanks to Almighty God the care, anxiety, & 
labor of my duty are now all ended. 

I rode round the mountain this forenoon with Captam 
Laing, & the views from the various elevations & sides of 
that wooded eminence are truly grand & beautiful. I have 
never beheld such magnificent scenery. The vast region for 
at least 60 miles in diameter is one vast tract of rich soil, 
sprinkled with villages farm houses, woods, & sheets of 


water which the mighty St Lawrence & its island divided 
channel presents. I went into the new Cathedral*. It is 
of granite & a pure specimen of the gothic order of archi- 
tecture. It is a huge edifice Visited the sisters of Charity's 
establishment, which is a kind of male & female hospital. 
The nuns were tending the sick & some were in a yard 
cleaning a large stove pipe, walked along the wharves & 
quaies. They are of granite & are being completed the 
whole front of the city. There were seven steam Boats in 
port & several brigs. I walked to the Champs de Mars & 
saw a parade of the troops. I was introduced to Col. 
Gugy [ ?] & Doct Jackson of the army, & the former called 
on me & then came & waited upon me to the dinner table at 
6 oclock. I have rode & walked all over the city. 

The uniforms of the different regiments of the troops in 
the British army are varied by the colour of the collars & 
curls, they being blue white green &c. & the pompons of like 
color. The Grenadier company of the Royals, instead of a 
leather or Jappaned cap, have one made like the other 
companies entirely of bear skin, without any visor, there is 
& white Pompon & tassels, of worsted. [Crude sketch 

The farms & land round Montreal is not well tilled & 
the houses are small & rudely [built] of rough stone or 
timber & white washed occasionally, some are framed & 
boarded & shingled. There are orchards of good fruit & 
plum trees. With good farmers & gardeners the surround- 
ing country would be very productive & have a beautiful 
appearance. There are a [ ? few] very fine handsome 
country seats ; but I did not observe but four or five which 
had a neat & tasty appearance. 

The market is abundently supplied with meats poultry, 
vegetables, game fish & such fruits as will grow here. It 
is the best in Canada. 

Montreal October 10. Yesterday, was cloudy, cold & 
uncomfortable, with a raw north west wind. It was the 
first real autumnal day we have had. It is, however milder 

* Gen. Dearborn evidently made the common tourists' error of regarding 
Notre Dame parish church as a cathedral. 




this morning & the sun is struggling to dissipate the clouds. 
It promises a pleasant day. I do Hope that there will be no 
cold rain storm before I reach my dear home, & wife & 
children. I met Mr. Featherstenhaw* this morning in the 
Hotel. He came to my room & informed me he had been 
to the coast of Labrador & was just from Quebec. He has 
given up his office of Geologist of the topographical corps, 
in consequence of inattention or coldness towards him by 
the government, because he is not of the same politics & a 
violent partizan of the President Lt. Magruder in the 
Artillery of the U. S. army called on me this morning. He 
is from Plattsburg where he is stationed. I attended the 
Grand parade of the 1st. Royal Regiment of Infantry this 
morning, in the Champs de Mars. It is commanded by Lt. 
Col. Wetherell & the next officer in rank is Majr Bell. I 
have never seen any corps of troops, in such perfect order 
in all respects, dress, discipline & conduct under arms. 
Their manual & movements were so harmonious, that they 
seemed to be actuated by one mind. The uniform is faced 
with blue, pantaloons oxford gray. The flank company is a 
beautiful corps of Grenadiers with the bearskin cap before 
described. The band consisted of 20 members. Uniform 
long white coats, with blue collars & cuffs, blue worsted 
epulets with gilt cresents. sword with brass scabbard & 
black belts. There were besides twelve drummers & fifers, 
the seams of whose coats were covered with party coloured 
red & white worsted binding y± of an inch wide ; the 
drummers had long Leopard skin aprons, which came down 
to the ankles, to protect their clothes from the drums, which 
were brass. 

The Col. on receiving the salutes swavely touched the 
visor of his cap with his finger when the standing salute was 
given & as each officer passed. The music wheeled out in 
front of the collors & played until the rear passed. When 
the line wheeled into column they came to the right about, 

* This was evidently the English traveler George William Featherstonhaugh, 
who had made geological surveys in the Western United States for the War 
Department, 1834-35, and was a commissioner for Great Britain to determine the 
northwestern boundary between the United States and Canada, under the Ash- 
burton-Webster treaty. He was the author of numerous reports, and narratives 
of travel. 


wheeled to the right, then faced about, on the word march 
being given, the whole column 'steped at the same moment, 
& came round into line without gaining or losing distance. 
The guard of the day came onto the parade in front & 
formed in line on the right. When the salutes were over 
the musick passed down in front & back, the guard then 
marched with the band, to the left, where the regimental 
colors were, held by an officer & color guard, half way 
between the line of the Col. & Regiment. The officer of the 
guard received them, when the guard & music marched 
down to the left, the latter passed in the rear up to the right 
& took post in line, while the band & the officer with the 
colours, passed up the front between the line of officers & 
rank & file ; the officer with the color took post in the middle 
of the guard and the musick formed in front facing to the 
left of the line. This is the position of the guard when 
receiving the colors, [when going for the colors :] 

g=±=i ozzic .' Ill T -LJL-J * 

ado rt r* _ 

. rrp 

Position of the troops when the guard had returned into 
line : 

o a'- 3o^^ 
rrrrrfjr-r • /* 


When the troops marched off the parade to the regi- 
mental barracks the guard remained until the other com- 
panies had passed & then fell into the rear. The Major 
marched off the regiment. The men were so perfectly sized 
in the platoon that they appeared of an exact height & so 
when all were in line, I was astonished at the precision & 
beauty of the movements & the surpassing excellence of the 
whole parade. I went up to the Col. after the parade & 
expressed my great gratification at the interesting spectacle 
I had witnessed. Nothing can be more perfect in military 

After leaving the Champs de Mars I went with Capt 
Laing & Lt. Magruder of our army to the barracks & was 
politely shown all over them by Major Bell. The bed steads 
are wrought iron & only one man sleeps upon each. They 
fold up & contain the bedding during the day. 

The men each keep a little book containing their account 
with the government, for pay & supplies of clothing &c. one 
of which Major Bell gave me. The men are paid daily in 
pence, as it amounts after all deductions to only five pence. 
I bought of the company paying Sergeant a number & also 
half pence. 

I also visited the stable & park of Royal Artillery. Under 
the guidance of Lt. Wadehouse the whole were in excellent 
order. There are four six pounders & four caisons on 
waggons, as the English call them, a forge, & baggage 
Waggon to each Battery, or company, which consists of 80 
men ; four ride on each gun carriage & caison making 32, 
& there is one mounted on each of the rear of the two pair 
of horses to each gun waggon & making 20, so that 52 ride. 
The servants artificers &c. make up the remainder. 

They have two little mortars of 8 or 9 inch caliber 
mounted on a wooden bed, which is transported in a little 
cart, & can be taken out & put on the ground to be used in 
any position desired. The cart is drawn by one horse. 

The harness of the field carriages & the waggons are 
provided with shafts on one side, in which the off horse is 
harnessed, & the near one is connected to the same cross bar 
by a whiffie-tree thus : 


There were sleds for the guns to be mounted on in win- 
ter, made thus : 



The carriages for the guns were like ours save the shafts 
being substituted for a pole. The wheels all of a height. 
The artificers to each battery are so well taught that they 
can make wheels & all the parts of the various carriages, & 
repair or replace all defects. They also shoe the horses & 
repair the harness. 

The regiments of each army have also tailors & shoe- 
makers who repair or make all the clothes & shoes. The 
clothing comes out ready made but is new fitted to each 
soldier. The shoes cost 2.25 cents a pair & are sewed over 
again, or rather newly made up in a more substantial form 
there is a female school for girls & a man's for boys in each 
company, where the children are daily taught There are 
six women — wives of soldiers — to a company, & one of 
these is the school mistress. The master is also a soldier. I 
went into the school rooms & all the mechanics & artists 
shops. The clothing is received fitted & delivered to the 
troops by the quarter master, of the Regiment. There is 
an arm chest, & clothing chest for each company. Each 
musket has the name & number of the soldier to whom it 
belongs, as have every other article including the clothing. 

Each soldier is obliged to have his kit complete, — a term 
which includes all his articles of dress. They are inspected 
weekly & all deficiencies must be supplied, & deducted from 
the pay which is about 14 cents per day. The cartridge boxes 
are leather Japponed & have a tin box divided into three 



compartments, in which the cartridges are put in paper 
bundles of 20 each making 60 rounds & the name & number 
of the soldier is put on each bundle. Just as they are going 
into action the bundles are undone & the cartridges thrown 
loose into the tin box. There is an under cover of leather to 
effectually keep out the wet. This is the form of the cart- 
ridge box. 



t» 9 "tr»rf1~ tic* 



By long experience, during the wars for the last 40 years, 
it is found that it is much the best mode to have tin canisters 
or boxes, in the above described cartridge boxes, instead of 
blocks of wood with a receptacle for each cartridge. The 
cartridges are more easily got at & they are less likely to be 
broken, in taking them out in action, & besides 60 can be 
carried in a smaller compass than 48 in the old mode, or 
even 24. 

Montreal Octo. 11. A dark rainy morning. I leave for 
Burlington at 9. I had a severe headache last evening but 
am right well after a good sleep of 7 hours, having gone to 
bed at 10 & got up at 5. 

The streets are very narrow in this city. They are paved 
& the side walks are of lime stone rlaging. The houses 
generally of stone & most of them have an antiquated ap- 
pearance & a style of construction which gives the place the 
appearance of an old french or Spanish, or German town. 
The buildings are generally covered with tin. TlTere are 
some very beautiful modern stone stores, houses & other edi- 
fices, Binghams house is elegant having an dome portico. It 
is very large & has been fitted up for the winter residence of 
Lord Durham, who has concluded to return on the 20th. of 
this month to England. Sir John Colburn [Colborne] has 


been appointed to assume his high duties, as Governor 

The French Canadian population are much excited & 
evince a great hostility to the English. I was in an apothe- 
cary's shop yesterday & he stated that an Englishman was 
the day before passing through a village about 20 miles dis- 
tant & it being ascertained of what nation he was the people 
assembled pelted him & followed him some distance & he 
only escaped by the fleetness of his horse from fatal con- 

It is reported that important intelligence has been re- 
ceived from Genl Macomb of some combinations for hostile 
movements. Lt. Magruder informed me yesterday that 
with [in] two weeks some 300 Canadians had appeared in 
Plattsburg & a large number in Burlington. Two more 
Regiments are on their way here from Halifax. The officers 
I find are apprehensive of difficulty in the winter. 

I left Montreal at 9 oclock this morning in a Steamer 
for La Prairie ; a small village above Montreal on the right 
bank of the St. Lawrence, & distant nine miles. There is a 
rail-road from thence to St. Johns, & I reached there at 12. 
Distance 14 miles after an early dinner, took passage in the 
Steam-Boat Winooski for Burlington, touched at Isle au 
Noix, 10 miles from St. Johns, where there is a large fort 
with four bastions, & it is garrisoned with a considerable 
number of troops; stoped a few minutes at Champlain 15 
miles where there is one company of U. S. troops. From 
[there] to Plattsburg is 25 miles, & thence 25 to Burlington 
where I arrived at 9 oclock in the evening. 

Mr. Featherstenhaw came with me but went on to White 
Hall. It has rained all day. The whole country from the St 
Lawrence to Champlain is a dead level & elevated but 10 or 
12 feet above the river. The soil rests on friable slate & is 
argilacious. The population is french & the houses are small 
& mean, generally timber or logs, although some are stone. 
There is no appearance of thrift, enterprise or intelligence. 

Mr. Featherstenhaw informed me that in his tour to the 
Labrador coast he went up the Sagunany [Saguenay] river 
ninetv miles, it comes into the St Lawrence on the left side 


120 miles below Quebec, & is remarkable for the depth of its 
water being much greater than the St. Lawrence. At its 
mouth the latter is only 40 fathoms, or 240 feet while the 
former is 450, at the falls 90 miles from its mouth 540 & half 
way from the falls to the St. Lawrence 840. Mr. Feather- 
stenhaw is of the opinion it was a lake & ultimately broke 
through the lofty stone barrier into the St Lawrence. He 
stated there was a mountain of iron ore about 70 miles below 
Quebec like that in Missouri, which is so remarkable, but 
much more lofty & of a larger base, the height being 1500 
feet, & its base manv miles. He found the same bed of lime 
stone out cropping near the mouth of the St Lawrence which 
he had examined in Georgia. It has precisely the same or- 
ganic remains. 

He has been passing considerable time at Quebec & been 
very intimate with Lord Durham. The latter leaves Cana- 
day on the 31st of October & will pass into the U. S. by this 
route to New York, from thence to Boston & return to N. 
York & go as far south as Washing, [ton] from whence he 
will embark in a frigate for England, or return to N. York & 
sail from that city in a frigate, which is now at Quebec. He 
will have seven persons in his suit,— his wife two daughters 
son, Secretary & phisician, besides four or five servants. 

It seems that Ld. Melbourn the prime minister got Lord 
Durham appointed Governor General to prevent his being 
the rival of the former, who was fearful of being surplanted, 
by him, & he only consented to accept the office on the special 
request of the Queen, with whom he is a favorite, for he was 
the particular friend & advisor of Her father, the Duke of 
Kent, & ever since his death has been of her mother. Mr. 
Featherstenhaw has no doubt of Lord Melbourn being re- 
moved & Lord Durham appointed Prime Minister. 

The persons who were banished to Burmuda, had ap- 
pealed to Lord Durham, and requested as a great favor that 
he would banish them, instead of bringing them to trial, & 
they having confessed their guilt, were sent out of the coun- 
try as an act of mercy. His Lordship is 46 years old & his 
eldest daughter 17, the son seven & the other daughter of an 
intermediate age. He despises O'Connel & will not allow 


him to be considered as one of his party if the Queen ele- 
vates him to the premiership. I was glad to hear it for that 
Irish demagogue is an unprincipled & worthless black guard 
rascal, & a disgrace to his country & parliament. 

Mr. Featherstenhaw informed me that he had resigned 
his station, as national Geologist, in consequence of the cold 
& neglectful manner in which his services were treated & 
the utter abandonment of the whole plan of operations, 
which the Secretary of War had agreed to sanction. In fact 
he feared that Van Buren wished him out of the way to 
make room for a political partizan. He is going to England 
with Lord Durham & is now passing over the route his lord- 
ship is to take, for the purpose of engaging lodgings, as far 
as Washington & will return to meet him in Troy on the 2d. 
of November & travel with him. Mr. Featherstenhaw in- 
tends to publish a work on the Geology of the U. S. in Eng- 
land & then go to Mexico from whence, he will cross over to 
California to explore the geology of that vast region. He is 
in hopes of inducing Audubon to accompany him. The con- 
templated exploration, he expects will take two years. 

He gave the following cause of the visit of John Van 
Buren to England. There was an English gentleman, who 
came to the state of New York many years since, by the 
name of Clark, whose father was Governor of that state 
before the Revolution & owned a large tract of land therein, 
which he came out to sell, and manage to the best advantage. 
He had a wife & children in England & a large estate there 
which he inherited; but did not live happily with his wife 
& never returned. He became acquainted with a Mrs. 
cooper, wife of a brother of the novelist of that name, at 
Cooperstown, where he resided part of the year & the rest of 
the time, for several years in Albany. The husband was a 
low, drunken, worthless fellow, & Clark became so much 

attached & she being a [ ] he had a child by her during 

the life time of her husband, but he dying soon after Clark 
married the widow * * * by whom he had several chil- 
dren, during the life of his wife in England. He built a su- 
perb house at Cooperstown & on his death left the whole of 
his estate in New York to his children born of & after his 


marriage with Mrs. Cooper, & the property in England to 
his legitimate wife. To the son born during the life time of 
Cooper, whose name he got changed to Clark by an act of 
the Legislature, he left an income, to be paid out of the 
American state [estate] of 5,000 dollars a year & as much 
more from that in England. The income from the American 
estate is from 60 to 70,000 dollars per annum. Clark died 
two years since & the heirs by his English wife refuse to 
pay the annuity of 5000 dollars which was given by the will 
& John Van Buren has gone to England with young Clark to 
endeavor to recover it, & is to have a large portion of it if 
successful. The giving out, that he had gone to attend the 
coronation was for eclat that ceremony having taken place 
at the time of his professional visit — for he is a lawyer in 
Albany — it was more imposing & creditable, being a Presi- 
dent's son to have the prestige of such an excursion. 

Capt. Laing called before I left this morning to take 
leave. He has paid the most kind & constant attention to me, 
during my visit to Montreal & I am under the greatest obli- 
gations. I gave him the toast I made on Lord Durham, this 
morning just before I went on board the steam-boat. 

I found a gentleman on board the Steam Boat from St 
Johns, who informed me that Florida White had visited the 
Baroness La Moine de Longueuil, who owns four seinories 
on the St Lawrence of more than 400 square miles, extend- 
ing above & below Montreal, & over to St Johns. She lives 
about nine miles below that city. Col. White has just re- 
turned from Europe & has ascertained, from his knowledge 
of real estates in Louisiana, & facts he ascertained in France 
that the above named lady, or some other branch of that 
family, is the heir to a vast tract of land in Louisiana, which 
is worth several millions of dollars. This gentleman was 
intimate in the family & had been there the day before. & 
was informed Col. White had gone up the river about twenty 
miles above Montreal to visit some gentlemen & would be 
on his way back to New York in the Boat with us ; he also 
informed me that he should return to Montreal in season to 
be my companion. 

This gentleman, whose name I did not inquire, stated 


that her first husband died when she was young & that she 
then married Capt Grant an Englishman. She is now 80 
years of age. During the revolution her last husband went 
into the U. States towards Boston with a party of Indians & 
never was afterwards heard of or the Indians. Every pos- 
sible inquiry was made, as to their fate, but not the least 
intelligence has been obtained to this day. 

I have traveled since I left home many miles : 

From Boston to Albany 420 

From Albany to Buffalo 300 

From Geneseo to the falls of Nunda, in Portageville & back . . 50 

To Niagara falls 20 

To Niagara city on the Canada side & Waterloo opposite Black 

Rock 25 

To Niagara falls & Tuscarora Indians 54 

To Buffalo creek Council house from Buffalo & back 6 times . 36 

On the reservation 20 

From Buffalo creek to Lewiston 33 

" Lewiston to Rochester 87 

Oswego 60 

Kingston 50 

Kingston to Ogdensburg 60 

Lead mines at Rossie & back 60 

Montreal 140 

Burlington 108 

From Burlington to Boston 282 

Total distance when I reach home 1855 

Burlington Vermont Octo 12. The rain storm continued 
until late last night & the wind blew furiously from eleven 
until this morning & now it is cloudy & dark with a strong 
westerly wind. I. sat up writing & reading until one & was 
at my table with my pen at half past five. I shaved by 
candle light & made a fire in the stove of my parlor, by the 
means of the dry wood which fortunately was brought up 
last evening, a newspaper, & the lamp I burned all night. I 
am to leave in the stage this day for Montpelior, at one 
oclock. This is a handsome town, containing about 4,000 
inhabitants many neat houses. The land rises rather precipi- 


tously from the lake. The mountains on the New York 
shore of the lake give an Alpine aspect to that distant 
scenery. This Lake in passing up it appears like a broad 
river, from its being very narrow compared w r ith its length. 
The scenery is very picturesque & soon after passing the 
village of Champlain, the banks become more elevated, hills 
of a gentle height arise & then Green mountains & those in 
N. York near their lofty summits. I have been in a level 
country since leaving the hudson until last evening & I am 
pleased again to behold the hill & mountain scenery of New 
England, — the farm houses villages & the habits dialect & 
general & yet peculiar aspect of its population. I seem to 
be again in the land of my youth, — the dear country where 
are all my relatives & with which are associated so many 
pleasing & endearing recollections & affections. Home is a 
darling, god-blessed & precious word, & it makes my heart 
leap to find I am now rapidly approaching my own happy 

Mr. Featherstenhaw informed me that it was now the 
opinion of Geologists that the whole surface of the earth 
once had a tropical climate even to the poles, for the only 
plants & trees found in the early stone formations are tropi- 
cal. This was at a time when the crust of the earth was less 
thick & the central heat was felt over all the surface ; but as 
the moulten mass cooled deeper & deeper the polar regions 
became covered with ice & snow & the tropicks, which when 
they were bearing tropical plants were too hot for vegetation 
but at last became lowered enough in temperature to allow 
plants to flourish & from their position, are kept at a suffi- 
ciently high point of heat to render vegetation perenneal. 
Or the poles may have been under the equator, & all other 
portions of the earth, at some period of the earths existance. 
This is a question which puzzles the will & we must take 
the existing facts proving the once wild climate of the tem- 
perate & frigid zones & leave for future Philosophers to 
divine the mighty cause. God alone can instruct us in this 
recondite inquiry. Geology has made gigantic strides within 
this century. Buckland work is a superb monument of 
human intelligence & the progress of a science which is but 


of yesterday. Merian & Hutton picked up specimens of min- 
erals & flourished theories, but Couvia [Cuvier] laid the deep 
& broad foundations of Geology & mineralogy & his zealous 
disciples have followed the extensive routes which he pointed 
out with an energy & industry which have produced most 
interesting & highly important results, both for the advance- 
ment of science, the development of the natural resources of 
nations all the branches of industry & the arts. 

There is no hope for the improvement of the condition 
of the people, the agriculture, & general condition of the 
Canadas until they are either included as states, with New 
Brunswick, Nova Scotia & the British Possessions in North 
America, in this Union, or become an independent nation. 
The merchants, & capitalists are Scotchmen & Englishmen, 
who come out only to accumulate wealth with the determi- 
nation to return home, at some future period, & therefore are 
not directly interested in the future prosperity & welfare of 
the country & make no permanent establishments in the 
towns or on the farms. They act & feel like foreigners & 
have no patriotic sentiment — no deep feeling, no lasting & 
stable notions in relation to the present or ultimate station 
which the Colonies may & should occupy. The French 
descendants & who are called Canadians, are generally ig- 
norant & have not advanced one step since their fore fathers 
landed on the banks of the St Lawrence. 

Let those Colonies become a part of the United States 
& our citizens would inundate it with emigrants & the 
change which would be effected in its business industry & 
improvement in all respects would be more rapid than has 
been any of the new states which have been created since 
the revolution. With a good soil, the facilities afforded for 
navigation & intercommunication, with a large portion of 
this nation, as well as of the immense tract which they in- 
clude, the many & immense water-powers — the timber & 
lumber trade, would all tend to give an impulse to industry 
& produce consequences as glorious as the means would be 
ample & encouraging. We must have these colonies & will, 
by purchase, by their independence, & subsequent request to 
be admitted into the Union or by Conquest. The first mode 


should be immediately attempted, for I have full confidence 
in its success ; and if we had not an insignificent president, 
& an imbecile administration it would be done, & thus settle 
all the questions which are of such momentous import to the 
United States, & each of which may sooner or later produce 
a war between us & Great Britain. 

1st. There is the North eastern boundary. 

2d. That on the Pacific ocean. 

3d. The right of navigating the St Lawrence. 

4th. The fisheries on the coasts of New Brunswick- 
Nova Scotia & more northerly, which are annually occasion- 
ing difficulties with our adventurous mariners. 

5th. The illicit trade, which will increase with the in- 
increasing population of the colonies & the United States 
along a frontier line of 1000 miles. 

6th. The control of the North Western Indians which 
have been turned loose upon us in all the wars since that of 


7th. The removal of a foreign military & naval force, 
from a position conterminous with our country from the 
Atlantic to Lake Superior ; a vast field work always occu- 
pied & filled with the resources of war. 

8th. The securement of the whole supply of timber & 
lumber & provisions to the West Indies & of the former two 
products to Great Britain. 

8th. The whole of the Fisheries on the coast of North 

9th. The employment of our own navigation] for all 
the imports & exports of those colonies. An imense object. 

So much would be gained in a national point of view ; 
then the non holding states would gain an equivalent in 
political power & influence, for that secured to the Southern 
& south western States by the purchase of Louisiana & 
Florida & Texas & Mexico if they wish them, provided how- 
ever that they agree to the purchase of the British Colonies. 
They would form four states immediately & give eight 
senators, with at least twelve representatives to Congress. 

It must be done ; & that speedily. Now is the favorable 
moment [in view of] the difficulties of the last year — the 


great expense of the recently arrived military force of 14,000 
men & all the other expenses for public works & naval co- 
operation — the hides produced in the ministry & other evils 
experienced in England from the complaints & turmoils of 
the Colonists & the parties which are exasperated, in con- 
sequence of the great & continual expeditures & discussions, 
which are produced by the possession of the far distant, — 
& in truth, valueless possession to the forest country. 

We can afford to give 100,000,000 millions of dollars for 
it; for the domain land & the customs would afford funds 
for paying the interest & liquidating the debt in less than 30 
years. Why have we not a Sully, or a Chatham to cut this 
grand Gorgean Knot ! ! Such a far reaching & powerful 
genius as those mighty men possessed will appear I trust, or 
the combined wisdom of the executive & legislative branches 
of the national government will do what either of those 
statesmen would have accomplished in a week, a day, an 
hour. It is only to say to Great Britain "What will you 
take," & the sum being named, — to reply ''there is the stock 
for the amount bearing 6 per cent interest, redeemable in 30 
years." The work is thus simple, as is all that which is to 
be performed by a great man for a zvhole nation, as no more 
time or skill is required than to purchase a farm, or sell a bill 
of exchange for a thousand dollars. The expansive & far 
looking mind is all that is required to do such deeds. 

I suggested to Air. Featherstenhaw to ascertain what 
were the ideas of Lord Durham on this subject. 

1st. To ascertain whether England would sell the col- 
onies for any sum, 

2d. What was his opinion, of the disposition of the 
British government, to make a conventional & compromising 
north eastern boundary line, of this kind, beginning at the 
mouth of the St Johns river & running up the channel to the 
St Francis to the Highlands which skirt the right bank of 
the St Lawrence, or the next northern branch; & if there 
was an unwillingness which was insuperable to yield so 
much on the Atlantic ; 

3d. Let there be a line run due north from some inter- 
mediate point between the mouths of the St John & the St 


Croix until it strikes the former river & then up its channel 
as above named. 

Such a compromise I believe practicable, if a purchase 
cannot be effected ; & I do not think that England will ever 
consent to acknowledge the line as described in the treaty of 
1783. She must have a communication by the St Johns & 
the St. Francis, or a more north western branch to Quebec, 
& the line justly claimed by us would render the route from 
New Rivers creek Nova Scotia to that capitol of all the Col- 
onies & also the fortress, so difficult & so circuitous & much 
longer as to induce an insuperable objection on the part of 
England to establish it by a convention or treaty. 

We must therefore purchase or make a new compromise 
line. Such is our present condition, that of the Canadas & 
Great Britain that the purchase is very desirable & if that 
cannot be accomplished, at once the other should be adopted ; 
& no time should be lost, for each year the achievement of 
either plan will be more & more difficult from the increasing 
consequence of the colonies & others of many kinds, which 
time can not fail to reveal & must probably in the form of 
a War. 

11 oclock. I have just returned from a walk over Bur- 
lington. The streets are regular & some of the houses 
beautiful. I passed a neat garden containing a green house, 
summer house, & a number of pear, apple & plum tree?. 
The grounds were well laid out & shew much taste in flori- 
culture. The dahlias shew there had been no frost here, as 
their foliage was green & unskaithed, by that first precursor 
of winter, who sometimes smites vegetation, with a deadly 
blast much earlier than this. I presume the Lake prevents 
frosts from being so early in their visits on its margin, it is 
a vast reservoir of caloric tempering the cold air which 
comes over it. The building stone is blue lime & red sand 
stone. I picked up a sample of the latter, to carry home. 
The wind is blowing strongly from the south west, & of 
course nearly up the Lake. 

The Colleges are on an eminence south of the village. 
Some of the side walks are paved with brick & others are 
graveled. There is a public square with a street stores & 


houses front on it on the four sides & a circular area en- 
closed with a neat painted railing, in which paths have been 
cut & bordered with trees & the remainder of the ground is 
covered with verdure. South west of the village, on the 
lake the land is low & level, but it rises to a bank 70 or 80 
feet high in the northern part of the settlement, There is a 
large wharf for steamboats to come to at & other vessels. 
There is a Light House on an Island in front of the town a 
mile or more from the shore. 

12 oclock. It begins to look lighter, the dark heavy 
clouds are dispersing & there [are] signs of the sun's 
coming out. I ardently hope it may be a bright afternoon 
& evening for my ride this afternoon to Montpeliar. 

Montpeliar Vermont, October 12. Evening. I left Bur- 
lington at one oclock, & had a most comfortable ride, there 
being seven men & two women, with each a child. * * * 
This is the most remarkable road I ever passed. It passes 
in a deep valley through the lofty piles of green mountains 
or the alternate banks of Onion river, where is generally a 
strip of intervale land; The ascent is so gradual that the 
road appears to be descending instead of rising there is no 
fall in the whole distance & nothing more than. a ripple any- 
where. There is so little land capable of cultivation that 
there are but few houses & except Water borough & one 
other little settlement no villages. The mountains on each 
side are very steep & covered to their summits with forest 
trees from their bases. The tops are crowned with hemlock 
& other evergreens, from which they have derived the name 
of the Green Mountains. I do not believe there is in any 
mountain region with a so remarkably level defile through 
it. I was every moment looking out for an ascent over a 
mountain & a lofty cataract or rapid ; but here I am on the 
culminating point between Lake Champlain & Connecticut 
river. It seems impossible that an elevation of [blank in 
original] feet has been so .equally distributed & a natural 
acclivity established, in a distance of forty miles in such a 
manner as to escape any considerable rise. With a few- 
variations in the bed of the road it could be made excellent. 
How easily a rail-road could be made to pass over this state ; 


or a canal. It will & must be done & if the people wouid 
take a quarter of the interest in improving the lines of inter- 
communication that they have or are now madly evincing in 
relation to anti-masonry, abolition, temperance & peace so- 
cieties. This valley would now or soon be traversed by a 
canal or rail road. 

There was a fanatical blockhead who was vociferating 
on the abolition of slavery half of the way in the state & the 
remainder talking nonsense. The fool insisted 'That 
slavery would never be put down until the ministers & 
churches excluded every slaveholder from the communion 
table." One of his own diabolical party was staggered at 
such doctrine & said he did not believe such was the opinion 
of the abolitionists generally, but the modern Calvin insisted 
that was the true & established creed of the abolitionists & 
that it was acted upon by many churches. The devil has 
been turned loose in New England & the fools of priests & 
the religious & political abolition & temperance demagogues 
& ignoramuses & fanatics are as wild & desperate & furious 
in the prosicution of each & all those chimerical schemes as 
were the same class of people during the early puritanical 
catamounts, under John Knox & Cromwell in Scotland & 
England & during the days of Roger Williams & Massa- 
chusetts witch-craft. 

They have erected in every village a kind of moral inqui- 
sition have their resolution autodafes, [auto da fes] with the 
furious & vindictive zeal of the cardinals & Bishops of Spain 
& France. They would, if they had the power, do as dam- 
nable deeds, as those which made the night of St. Barthol- 
omy hideous. Under sanctified faces they think they are 
doing Christ's & God's service, for all this wickedness is an- 
nounced as a religious duty ; & they talk of their contempt- 
able consciences as did Ferdinand & Isabella, when they 
drove the poor Jews out of Spain & the polished moors. 
Hell is as fully represented now, in New England, as it ever 
was in any country under the blood stained & fire-blasted 
horrer of the Pope. When O ! God will man learn mercy & 
conduct in conformity to the charitable & beneficient &: peace- 
ful precepts of thy son? Is the world never to be at rest? 


Will not intelligence & virtue & wisdom one day take the 
place of ignorance, vindictive persecution & folly? 

I listened & spoke not a word, from Burlington to this 
place, during a ride of seven hours, so disgusted was I, & so 
contemptible did this Vermont Pharisee, this Calvanistic 
wretch appear. I found if I spoke I must call him by rough 
names & say to him, you unprincipaled rascal, how dare you 
undertake to say, who shall go up to the communion table 
of God. Do you not know you are advocating a violation of 
the constitution exciting a servile & civil war, & committing 
such treasonable, diobolical, tyranical, unmerciful, immoral, 
unjust, & dishonest crimes as will lead to a dissolution of the 
Union & an hundred other equally, — ay more severe re- 
marks. But I knew not the doalts & with difficulty kept 
silent. Pity & contempt mingled with a disposition to kick 
the chief rascal out of the stage, were the alternate feelings 
with which I was impressed. God forgive me & mend him. 

Concord New Hampshire Octo 13. I left Montpeliar at 
2 oclock this morning & came to Royalton 36 miles to break- 
fast. It rained nearly all the way, was dark & cold for about 
day light it snowed & even as late as half past eleven this 
forenoon, snow was still laying on the hills in New Hamp- 
shire. I dined at Enfield about two miles this side of the 
Shaking quaker settlement. They have recently erected two 
stone houses & one is four stories high & very capacious in 
length & width. The material is hammered granite. After 
dinner came to this town & reached the hotel at 9 oclock. 
having been riding 19 hours & passed over 112 miles of 
rough mountainous road. I am not, however fatigued ; 
proving that I have gained health & strength by my western 

Mr. Jenkham a trader in West Hartford in Vermont 
came on with me from that town. A modest intelligent & 
pleasant companion. He has sent off waggons with agricul- 
tural & other products to Boston & is going down to pur- 
chase merchandise to freight them back. These waggons 
are enormously large, & drawn by four pair of horses & 
sometimes five pair. They carry up & down 4 tons. The 
wheels have fellows four to five inches broad. They are 7 


clays in going clown & as many returning the distance being 
130 miles they have one dollar a hundred freight. The own- 
ers generally walk all the way beside of their horses. There 
is a false pole as it is called fitted to the common one, by the 
means of which two pair of the horses aid in holding when 
descending hills. The false pole is thus secured : 

1 is a ring through which the false pole passes & the other 
end passes 8 or 10 through another at 2, & is prevented from 
going further by a shoulder at the end like this : 



The lower ring is secured by two bolts which pass through 
the lower wheel pole & are made secure by. an iron plate on 
top & one beneath on which the ring is hung by an eye bolt : 
[See second sketch above.] 

He informed me that a great many tons of dried apples 
are prepared & sent to the Boston market by the females in 
Vermont. That he takes in & sends to Boston six or seven 
tons a year. It takes a bushel to make five pounds for which 
he gives 4 cents per pound, & the apples therefore are worth 
but 20 cents per bushel after all the labor of pealing, quar- 
tering, coring stringing & drying & carry to the traders has 
been bestowed on them. They are pealed & quartered by 
little machines, & in the autumn parties are made of 10 or so 
females & young men, who divide the work, some peal, 
others quarter, while others are employed in taking out the 
cores with a small knife or in stringing them on strong 
threads, by which they are suspended to dry. He had been 
to such parties where 30 bushels were peared &c. &c. in an 
evening. After the work is done which is soon after nine, 


cake & pies are passed round & then they often have dancing, 
one woman sold him last autumn, 400 pounds, which she had 
entirely prepared with her own hands in the evening. They 
required nearly 100 bushels of apples, for which she got only 
16 dollars. 

Octo 14 Left Concord after breakfast, dined at Nashua 
& got home at 10 oclock in the evening. Found my wife & 
sons well thanks to Almighty God. 






Journal of a mission to Buffalo, in the state of New 
York, to negociate a Treaty with the Seneca 
Nation of Indians, for their emigration, to a 
territory assigned them, west of the state of 
Missouri, and for the sale of their right of 
possession of their several reservations, of 
land, on Alleghany river, Cattaraugus, Buf- 
BORN, Superintendent of Massachusetts. 

Nov. 9. 1838. I left Boston on the afternoon of this day 
at 3 oclock in the rail-road cars for Stoning[ton], where i 
arrived at half past 7 & took passage for New York, in the 
Steam Boat Narraganset. 

Nov. 10. I arrived at New York this morning, at 7 

* Vol. III. of the manuscript journals, in which are contained the narratives 
of Gen. Dearborn's second and third visits to Buffalo, has the following title: 
"Journal of a Mission to the Seneca and Tuscarora Indians, and an Account of 
the Treaties held with those Tribes, in the Years 1838 & 1839, for the Sale of 
their Lands and for their Emigration West of the Mississippi River. By H. A. 
S. Dearborn, Superintendent of Massachusetts. Vol III." It contains, beside 
the journals (Nov. 9, 1838, to Jan. 1, 1839; and Aug. 7 to 21, 1839), the fol- 
lowing private correspondence: Letters on various subjects, from August 3, 
1838, to October 13, 1838; Letters from November 8, 1838, to April 8, 1839; 
Letters from T. L. Ogden to H. A. S. Dearborn. Only the journals are here 


oclock & put up at the Astor House. Soon after I reached 
the city, I learned that the Whigs had achieved a glorious 
victory, by electing their Governor,* Lt. Governor, a large 
majority of the Legislature & of the Members of Congress. 
It is the most momentous event since the close of the Revo- 
lution, for it decides the fate of the present, incompetent & 
ruinous national administration. It is the advent of the rees- 
tablishment of the Republic on Constitutional principles, & 
the recurrence to those measures, on which the stability of 
the Union, and the prosperity & happiness of the people 
depend. The effect throughout the whole country, will be 
as cheering, as it is honorable to this state, & momentous to 
the Republic. 

Saw T. L. Ogden Esqr. who informed me that the Hon. 
R. H. Gillet, the Commissioner of the United States, for 
holding treaties, with the several tribes of Indians in [N. Y.] 
had passed through the city on his way home from Washing- 
ton, & who informed him that the Secretary of War had de- 
cided that it was not considered necessary, to again open the 
Council with the Senecas, but that the names of such Chiefs 
as were disposed to emigrate might be signed in our pres- 
ence. Mr. Strong the Interpreter called on. me, having re- 
cently arrived from Washington. He agreed to accompany 
me to Buffalo. 

Wrote letters to my wife, sister Parker & my Chief Clerk, 
& at five oclock in the afternoon, went on board the Steamer 
De Witt Clinton, bound to Albany. It had frozen hard the 
night before & was very cold still. During the evening I 
was introduced to Genl. Talmage of the United States Sen- 
ate & conversed with him on the recent election, the conduct 
of the President & other subjects, until eleven oclock, when 
he landed at Pokipsee, where he resides. I was introduced 

* In the election of 1838, William H. Seward and Luther Bradish, the 
Whig candidates for governor and lieutenant governor of New York, were 
elected by a majority of about 10,000. The Whig majority in the Assembly 
was about two to one, and in the 'Senate the Whigs carried five of the eight 
districts. The Western New York counties were strongly Whig. The change 
of party in the National Administration which Gen. Dearborn enthusiastically 
predicted, came in 1840, when Harrison, the Whig candidate, received 234 
electoral votes to 60 cast for Van Buren, whose "incompetent and ruinous" ad- 
ministration ended the following March. 


to Col. Mc Key* a lawyer of Buffalo, who I found a very in- 
telligent & agreeable gentleman. 

November n. We landed in Albany at 7 o'clock, & 
after breakfast took the rail-road cars for Utica, where we 
arrived at four oclock. It has been a very cold day. At 5 
we took passage in a Canal packet for Syracuse, & entered 
that city at 6 oc on the morning of November 12. & the 
next morning being the 13th were at Rochester where we 
landed & were obliged to remain until 2 oclock in the after- 
noon waiting for the packet-boat from the West. My esti- 
mable friend Genl. J. G. Swift formerly Chief of the Corps 
of Engineers, & Majr Smith of the Engineer Corps joined 
us at Rochester. W r e had a pleasant afternoon & evening, 
on our way to Lockport for the Genl & myself called up the 
incidents of by-gone days, as we have been intimately 
acquainted since 1808, but I had not met him for many 
years, — at least fourteen. He had been engaged in the 
works for improving the harbors of Genesee river & Sodus. 

November 14. We landed at Lockport at seven & took 
the Rail-Road Cars, for Niagara falls at nine, where we 
arrived at eleven oclock, having performed the journey of 
750 miles in less than five days, although I stoped in New 
York from 6 until five in the afternoon, on the 10th & was 
detained from 7 in the morning until two in the afternoon 
at Rochester. It seemed as if some magical contrivance had 
been used — for one can scarcely realize the sudden transition 
which had been effected in so brief a period. As I stood on 
Goat-Island, looking down into the profound abyss, of the 
mighty cataract, — that "Hell of Waters," I, involuntarily, 
asked myself, is not this all a dream, and gazed around with 
inquiring eyes, to ascertain whether in truth, it were a 
reality. The sky was cloudless — a splendid iris arched the 
ascending spray — an autumnal sun bathed the surrounding 
scenery in its peculiar mellow beams, and all the air a 
solemn stillness held. Above the rapids, the brod Niagara 
river was as unruffled & smooth as a mirror, while the latter 
came careering down with furious speed & then making 
one awful tremendous & thundering leap continues madly 

* James McKay. 


down the deep & narrow gulf to mingle quietly with the 
waters of lake Erie. [ ! Ontario.] 

As I walked round the island, I thought of my dear 
grandsons who but 20 days before had traversed the same 
path & looked upon the same objects, & now they were far 
away in the distant west. With what pleasure, yet how 
melancholy was it to my soul, did I read their names re- 
corded in the book of arrivals at the Hotel where I dined. 
There too they had sat down at the same table & I momen- 
tarily expected to hear their voices, for they seemed to be 
within the scope of my eyes & sense of sound. God bless & 
prosper them I beseech thee. I arrived at the American 
Hotel in Buffalo at five oclock, having left the falls, in the 
rail road cars at 3. 

November 15. Doctr. Wilcox & Orlando Alen [Allen] 
Esqr called on me. Learning that Mr. Gillet the Commis- 
sioner of the United States had arrived, I called at the 
United States Hotel to see him but he had gone to private 
lodgings, & I could not ascertain where until the next 

Nov. 16. It has rained all day. Judge Stryker waited 
upon me & sent his son with a carage to take me to Mr. 
Gillets lodgings, who informed me, that the Secretary of 
War had decided, that it was not necessary the council of the 
Senecas should be convened, but that such of the Chiefs as 
might determine to sign the treaty could do so in our 
presence. I met him in the evening by appointment at 
Judge Strykers house, to consult as to the mode in which 
the negociations should be carried on, & it was concluded 
that written information should be sent to the principal 
Chiefs on the Alleghany, Cattaraugus, Buffalo Creek & 
Tonawanda Reservations of the determination of the Secre- 
tary of War, & that we would either here or at those several 
reservations, receive the signatures of such of the Chiefs as 
wished to affix their names to the treaty. I wrote a letter 
to my good wife. 

Nov. 17. I wrote an official & private letter to Governor 
Everett, & enclosed a copy of the instructions from the 
Commissioner of Indian Affairs to Mr. Gillet, & of the letter 


addressed to the chiefs. It froze last night & there was a 
slight fall of snow, with a violent gale, which has continued 
for 48 hours, so that the steam boats could not leave the 

Nov. 18. A cold night & day. It began to snow at one 
& continued until dark. Two inches fell. Col. Bankhead 
of the U. S. Artillery commands at this military post, where 
there are three companies. He puts up at this Hotel, with 
several of his officers. Mr. James Wadsworth of Geneseo 
arrived this afternoon & I was happy to learn that his beauti- 
ful and agreeable lady, his venerable & excellent father, 
amiable sister & brother were all well. 

I have been invited to attend a celebration of the Whigs 
of Erie County next Wednesday to commemorate the 
glorious victory their party has achieved throughout the 
state, in the election of Governor Lt. Governor, a large 
majority of the members of the state & national legislatures, 
last w r eek. It is the most important event since the Revolu- 
tion, for it decides the fate of the present incompetent & in- 
famous administration of the United States.. The reign of 
radicalism & the various measures, which have been pursued 
since the ignorant, passionate, vindictive & rascally career 
of the unprincipaled & tyranical Jackson commenced, will 
now be brought to a close at the next presidential election. 
The Republic is saved from destruction. Confidence will 
be restored among the people & all branches of industry will 
prosper for the infamous & blighting Sub-Treasury System 
can not now be established. Again the people will be free. 
There is not a nation in Europe which has been so badly 
governed, & its affairs so ignorantly & fatally managed as 
this for the last ten years. But thanks to Almighty God the 
intelligence & virtue of the people have triumphed over the 
corruptions & impositions of Jacksonism & Van Burenism. 
Again the ship off state is off & the cheering cry, — "she 
rights, she rights" is heard from stem to stern, from above 
& aloft. 

George Jimenson, Harris, & Strong — three of the Seneca 
Chiefs — have called on me & Cone, my interesting Tona- 


wanda young friend, who gave me so many traditions of 
his nation. 

We have reports of another revolt among the Canadians 
in Lower Canada & at Prescot, & that numbers of Americans 
have joined them. There have been several partial 
skirmishes, & a battle is expected between 3000 patriots & 
an equal number of British troops in the vicinity of Mon 
treal. Marshal Law has been proclaimed in L T pper & Lower 
Canada. All intercourse was stoped, yesterday, across the 
Niagara river & several persons who had gone to the Canada 
shore opposite Black Rock & below the Falls were prohibited 
from landing. 

Nov. 19. I have read Alice, Bulwers last novel. It is 
superior to anything he has written. The tale is more con- 
tinuous & not disrupted by episodes & halts to describe 
scenery & an effected kind of philosophising, which renders 
his other works tedious ; especially his Last days of Pompei 
& Rienzi. I have also read the 5th & 6th numbers of 
Nicholas Nickleby & now am reading Steven's travels in 
Greece, Turkey Russia & Poland. 

Afternoon. As Mr. Gillet had taken lodgings at the 
Eagle Hotel, I have joined him, to make it more convenient 
to attend to the negociations with the Indians & for those 
persons who may have business to transact with us. 

Little Johnson came in this afternoon & signed the treaty, 
which he said he did freely & voluntarily. He observed to 
Mr. Gillet that at the Council last winter he was in opinion 
with him, but was in opposition when we were together in 
the summer to show him what his power was, for he con- 
sidered himself the principal Chief of the Seneca Nation. 
Now he was happy to be again with him. 

November 20. It snowed last night & it is now seven or 
eight inches deep & still snowing. Mr. Bela Lincoln of 
Maine called on me this forenoon. He is grand son of 
Genl. Lincoln of the Revolution & is bound to Illinois, to 
join Mr. Richards & my beloved son Henry. I wrote to 
Henry by him. 

Young Chusick [Cusick] one of the Tuscarora Chiefs 
called on me last evening & this morning. I began a letter 


this forenoon to my friend Col. Bigelow, the Secretary of 
State, giving him an account of this region of country ; its 
rapid settlement & future destinies. Took a walk just be- 
fore dark. The day has been cloudy & windy & gloomy. 
As I looked off upon the lake the prospect was awfully 
grand. The dense black clouds came down upon it like a 
huge & impassable barrier & the dark surface of the angry 
waters, was broken into crests of foam, as the tumbling 
billows rolled onward to the resounding shore. It looked 
like the sombre dominions of Eribus & Nox. 

Sleighs have been running all day, & winter in all his 
terrors has come upon us suddenly & unexpectedly for each 
day it has rained I have sanguinely believed the next would 
be pleasant & that there would be two or three weeks of 
Indian summerlike weather before the autumn closed. I 
hope it yet, but with less confidence. 

Nov. 21. A clear day with a strong southwest wind. I 
attended the Whig celebration, & made a speech & gave a 
toast. Received a letter from my wife & son William this 
forenoon dated the 14. It made glad my heart. I have 
written a letter to Col. Bigelow & am now copying it in rela- 
tion to the prosperous condition & future prospects of this 
city & the great west.* 

Nov. 22. It has been cloudy & damp & thawed all last 
night & this day. The city was beautifully illuminated last 
evening. I have written all day, although I have had a 
horrible head-ache. I walked down to the harbor & saw 
nine steam boats go out, while two others were coming down 
the lake, so that eleven were to be seen under way at the 

* This letter, and several others mentioned in subsequent pages of the jour- 
nal, were addressed to the Hon. John P. Bigelow, then Secretary of the State 
of Massachusetts. Mr. Bigelow placed them in the hands of the editor of the 
Boston Courier, in which journal they were printed. They were afterwards re- 
published in book form with the title: "Letters on the Internal Improvements 
and Commerce of the West, by Henry A. S. Dearborn." (8vo. pp. 120. Boston: 
Dutton & Wentworth, printers, 1839.) Seven of the letters were written at 
Buffalo, in November and December, 1838; three others of the series were 
written at Roxbury after Gen. Dearborn's return home. They relate chiefly to 
canal and railroad construction and prospective development throughout New 
York State and the West, special attention being paid to Buffalo and the Niagara 
region. A copy of this now scarce volume is in the Buffalo Historical Society 


same moment & eight were in the harbor besides between 
40 & 50 ships brigs & schooners. A most interesting spec- 
tacle. The following is a printed account of the whig cele- 
bration of the 21 st. [Clipping from Buffalo Commercial 
Advertiser Nov. 22, 1838, here omitted.] 

Nov. 23. This has been a mild & pleasant day. I 
walked down to the harbor between one & two. I have 
completed the copy of my letter to Air. Bigelow & it makes 
30 pages. I am tired of writing & will read Steven's travels 
in Russia, &c, it being nearly 9 oclock in the evening & I 
have written steadily since six this morning, save my short 

Nov. 24. It froze last night & snows this morning. 
Little Johnson the principle chief of the Senecas & Gordon 
one of the Alleghany chiefs called on me yesterday, & ex- 
pressed the gratification, that I had again come among them, 
& stated what universal satisfaction, I had given when here 
before, & the confidence the Indians had in my honesty, & 
disposition to act justly & fairly, & see that they were treated 
properly in the negociations. I informed them that, I was a 
friend of the indians & most anxious to discharge my duty 
faithfully in [all] respects, & held myself accountable to the 
great spirit, who looked down with equal solicitude on the 
red, as well as the white man, & that they might be assured 
of my unremitted efforts to guard & protect their rights & 

I find there are eight Sachems or Chief men of the na- 
tion, — the great civil officers, who are Little Johnson 
(Pagan), above named, Daniel Two-Guns (Christian), 
Capt. Pollard (Christian), James Stevenson (Christian), 
George Linsley (Pagan), of the Buffalo reservation, Capt. 
Strong (Pagan), & Blue eyes (Christian), of Cattaraugus 
& Jimmy Johnson (Pagan), of Tonawanda. 

Nov. 25. A very cold night. The Erie Canal closed. 
The day has been cold, with a slight fall of snow. I com- 
menced a second letter to Mr. Bigelow on internal improve- 
ments & wrote eleven pages. Completed a letter to my wife 
& sent it to the post office this evening. 

Nov. 26. A cold night, but the morning is calm & 


sunny, presaging a pleasant day, & I hope a succession of 
them before winter really commences. Mr. Strong the In- 
terpreter returned last evening from Cattaraugus, & Harris 
the educated chief called on me in the evening. I waited 
on Gov. Mason* of Michigan, who has been to N. York to be 
married & is on his return home. I am reading Parker's 
Exploring tour beyond the Rocky Mountains — He was sent 
by the Board of Foreign Missions. From his account the 
tribes of indians, believe in a God, who made & presides over 
all things, in the immortality of the soul, — a future state of 
reward & punishments — they are honest, truth telling, 
peaceful & amiable. He is a calvanist & the last of all the 
sects to improve the religion & morals of a savage race. He 
will unsettle their own simple belief & reverence for the 
Great Spirit & teach them incomprehensible creeds, articles 
of faith & gloomy notions of God & their own condition & 
duties & make them more & more unhappy. Those tribes 
west of the mountains are exactly in a state for the philan- 
thropist, to aid & bring into a civilized condition. Let 
mechanics, farmers, seeds & tools be sent to them & persons 
to teach them to read & write to play on instruments of 
music, to dance & sing & all the useful arts & say nothing 
of religion & they may soon [be] rendered industrious happy 
& enlightened ; & the christian religion will follow of course. 
But if the missionaries go among them & attempt to chris- 
tianize before the indians are civilized, the result will be as 
fatal as in all other parts of this continent. When will our 
clergy learn wisdom & our people act from facts, truth, in- 
telligence & the dictates of reason & experience? After 
more than two centuries of sad & lamentable efforts on the 
part of the various christian sects, to elevate the condition 
of the natives, the same erronious course is still being pur- 
sued. We learn nothing from the past & act like fanatics, 
instead of the true & enlightened disciples of the pure & up- 
right man who, with so much modesty, yet independence, 
taught the fundamental principles of morals & the true phil- 
osophy of human happiness. 

•Stevens Thomson Mason, fourth territorial governor (1834-35) and first 
governor of the State of Michigan (1836-40). At the expiration of his term of 
office he settled in New York and practiced law until his death, Jan. 4, 1843. 


I walked down to the harbor between one & two & found 
it was frozen over as well as the Canal & all kinds of vessels 
closed in the ice, most probably for the winter. 

An Indian Chief by the name of Saml Wilson called at 
our appartments this afternoon, with the Indian Agent & 
[in] his presence & that of the Interpreter Strong the Chiefs 
George, Jimenson, White Seneca, & Pearce, signed the 
treaty. I asked him if he did so freely & voluntarily & he 
replied "yes, & with a sound mind." 

I called on Mr. Lincoln* the Collector. He is the son of 
the illustrious De W r itt Clinton. I met many Indians in the 
street, from the various reservations who appeared to be 
glad to see me, & especially Israel Jimenson of Cattaraugus, 
who was the most violent & outrageous of the opposition 
party, at the last council. I have just been present in our 
common parlor, to the signature of John Bark, a Chief of 
the Buffalo reservation by George Jimenson his Atty, said 
Bark having gone to the Alleghany Mountains on a hunting 
excursion. The Indian Agent & Dot Wilcox were presenr. 
The power was verified by oath before Judge Stryker. 

Nov. 27. It was snowing when I got up this morning. 
Wrote to the Governor & my wife. This forenoon Tall 
Peter a Chief came to my room, with Mr Orlando Allen, I 
was informed that William Cass a Chief who signed the 
treaty last winter, & who lived near Youngs on the Buffalo 
Creek Reservation wished to sign the treaty although op- 
posed to it in the Council last held, but was afraid to come 
into town, on account of the other chiefs in opposition, but 
[would] sign if we would meet him at Allen's tavern near 
where the last council was held, & this afternoon, Mr. Gillet 
& myself went out there & in the evening he came to the 
tavern & in our presence & that of Mr. Allen & Tall Peter 
signed the treaty. I asked him if he did so willingly & he 
replied that he did. We did not get back until eleven as 
the roads are horidly rough & we were in a carriage, as there 
was not enough snow for a sleigh when we went out ; but 
now it is over six inches deep as it has snowed all day. 

* So written in the journal, obviously by inadvertence. In 183S George W. 
Clinton, son of DeWitt Clinton, was Collector of the Port of Buffalo Creek, 
which office he held until he became Mayor in 1842. 


Nov 28. A cold cloudy day. Walked out before din- 
ner, & have read & wrote all the remainder of the time. Lt. 
Townsend, — son of my friend Majr. Townsend, of Boston 
& pay-master in the army — called to see me. He is Adjt. 
of Col. Bankhead's* Regiment of Artillery, whose Head 
Quarters are in Buffalo. 

Nov 29. A very cold windy day. I dined with Genl. 
Potter, it being the thanksgiving of this state & the New 
England states, save Vermont. An Oneida Chief called on 
me this forenoon. He has nine children & 22 grand children 
which will entitle him to over 10,000 acres of land in the new 
Indian territory, & he appeared quite elated at his good 
fortune. I began to copy my second letter to Mr. Bigelow. 

Nov. 30. The wind blue a gale all night & all this day 
from the South west. I walked down to the extreme end 
of the wharf on the northern side of the harbor to behold 
Lake Erie, in a tempest. Its waves were rushing on to the 
resounding shore like those of the ocean. The scene was 
sublime. The sun has shone all day for the first time since 
I arrived, & the evening is cloudless, with a brilliant full 
moon and the wind has subsided considerably This place is 
the very throne of Eolus. The position between the two 
great Lakes, Erie & Ontario, makes it a race Course for "the 
sightless couriers of the air," & a calm is rarely to be seen. 
That mild & quiet & to me darling & lovely goddess, is very 
chary of reclining on the banks of the Niagara ; & yet I did 
witness her soothing smiles on those waters last summer, as 
she was gazing upon the reflected landscape in the bright 
green waters (they are peculiar from the green tint they 
present as are all the lakes.) I have copied 27 pages of 
Letter No. 2. to Mr. Bigelow. 

December 1. The sky is overcast with a haze, the wind 
still south west, but not so violent, & it thaws. Three 
Steamboats arrived down the lake this morning & one has 
gone out of the harbor for Detroit. [Newspaper clipping 

From the following [newspaper clipping, letter of Prof. 

* J. W. Bankhead was colonel of the Second Regiment, Artillery, stationed 
in Buffalo at this time. 


Hitchcock] & other like statements it would appear that this 
earth is but a huge mass of extinct animals, — a mausoleum 
reared to the dead from the bodies of the dead. God ! what 
a train of thought does this curious & most remarkable reve- 
lation of the mineral world excite. Matter, weather [so in 
original] now dead & inert, is but the debris of living beings. 
Tne work of creation then begun with life & death is but 
one of the modes of preparing the materials for the structure 
of the universe ; and may not we give place to animals as 
much superior, as is man to the brutes. Angels may dwell 
on the spot where our flesh & bones have prepared the 
proper place of residence for them. The ideas which are 
roused are sublime. 

Evening of Dec I. I finished the copy of my 2d. letter 
to Mr. Bigelow just before dark. It makes forty pages. My 
heart was made glad, this afternoon by a letter from my 
darling daughter Julia & good son William dated the 24th 
ult. My beloved wife was improving in health. 

December 2. It blew violently all night but it is mild & 
this morning there is less of wind & it thaws ; still it is 
cloudy & squalls of snow have been frequent during the day. 
I corrected the copy of Letter No. 2. to my friend Bigelow & 
sealed it up this morning. 

I am reading Napoleon & his times by Caulincoort Duke 
of Vicenza in two vols. 121110. It is an account of conversa- 
tions with the Duke by a lady. It is interesting — very ; & 
if the statements may be relied upon valuable to the his- 
torian. No indication is given who the lady is. I am also 
reading Col. Stone's life of the Indian Chief Brant. 

Evening. It has cleared off cold & the night is cloud- 
less. I have completed Napoleon by Caulincoort. It is a 
sad & grievous tale. The fault of the Emperor was that he 
ceased from fighting. He should [have] kept with his army, 
put all the traitors under arrest, shot Fouche & Talleyrand 
by a drum-head court martial, & he would have defeated the 
allies & been Emperor until life was extinct, either on the 
battlefield or on his imperial couch in the Thuilleries. He 
was wrong to have hesitated, a moment. He had only to 
relie on his sword & that would have saved him. 


I have been supprised at a most shameful article in the 
Boston Atlas. It is infamous ; the outpouring of a rabid 
radical, an unprincipled demagogue. Who has been at the 
bottom [of] it & the sudden declaration for Harrison. I 
fear a man who I have honored & confided in has acted a 
base part & the great, the patriotic, the honest, warm-hearted 
Clay has been sacrificed, by a faction. How is it that Web- 
ster has been nominated by the Anti-masons as Vice Presi- 
dent to Harrison. Has he been ploughing with the radical 
whigs, the anti masons, the abolitionists, to defeat Clay, be- 
cause he found he could not be nominated & therefore unites 
with Harrison. God! what a prostitution of principles, of 
honor, of honesty. To take up such an ordinary man as 
Harrison, in preference to the incomparable Clay. The bold, 
fearless, eloquent & mighty champion, who for eleven years, 
— ay 1 6 years [has] been battling in the cause of his country, 
in the Halls of Congress, with a genius, talent & power such 
as no other man ever exhibited. O ! it is horrible. 

Alas ! we have fallen on evil times. When the aurora of 
a glorious day began to dawn in our political horizon, the 
welkin is suddenly involved in those thick-coming clouds, 
which overshadowed the earth, during that dreadful period 
of the dark ages. The ignorant, the poor, the' base the un- 
principled are to be appealed to & the wealthy & intelligent 
denounced, Another Jeremiah may well proclaim, woe, woe 
to our American Jerusalem. I despair of the Republic. It 
is impossible it can be maintained, if the radical doctrines & 
measures which the Atlas announces are to be held up as the 
peculiar & necessary system of the Whigs. The mob will 
be the government & then comes despotism. It is awful to 
discover such demonstrations, & especially when it looks 
like the act of one who we have so much confided in & hon- 
ored. There is too much of vice, too little of virtue, too 
much ignorance, too little honor & principle, for a Republic, 
I fear. We have been rapidly retrograding, as a people, for 
the last 20 years. 

December 3. A cold dark & a cloudy, dark day. I 
read the account of Napoleon's reign, by Caulincourt, I 
could not but be forcibly impressed, with the immense 


power of Russia, & the superior intelligence of Alexander & 
of his civil & military officers to that of the other sovereigns 
& nations who cooperated in the terrific war against France. 
The account too of the Russian empire, the refinements, 
wealth & splendor of the court,— the wonderful change 
which had been wrought in that vast region, which but a 
short time before was occupied by an assemblage of barbar- 
ous tribes. The world never presented such a spectacle. 
Never has there been effected such a change in the condi- 
tion of a people. It is a miraculous illustration of the god- 
like power & energy- of one great mind. Peter I was the 
most extraordinary & truly greatest man that ever lived. 
As a general & a conqueror he equalled the most renowned 
& defeated, after a long continued & disastrous war, the 
most consummate general of modern times. His greatness 
consisted in his luminous & bold conceptions, his gigantic 
views, & unabated & successful efforts to render his every 
thought & act Useful to his Country. He fought battles on 
the land & on the seas, but to enable him to perfect & carry 
into complete operation his grand & beneficent systems for 
immeliorating the condition the advancement of civilization 
through his vast dominions. He founded cities, established 
manufactories, created armies & navies, extended agricul- 
tural knowledge, made roads, built bridges, erected magnif- 
icent edifices, encouraged the industrious & ornamental arts, 
& patronized literature & science, in the midst those long & 
tremendous wars, which were alone sufficient, to occupy the 
whole attention & absolve all the resources of nearly every 
potentate of Christendom, as well as of Turkey & Persia & 
all the Tartar & Cosack tribes from the Baltic to the frontiers 
of China, with whom he was compelled to contend for the 
integrity of his empire & the stability of his throne. He 
waged war solely in self defence — not for the idle prestige 
of military glory, but to enable him to advance into the front 
ranks of the most distinguished & refined nations. He was 
the modern Anacharsis nobly triumphing over the ignorance 
customs & barbarous pursuits of the wild & savage nations 
of the long benighted & degraded Sythia. 

The resources, both physical & moral, of his inveterate & 


deadly enemy, Charles of Sweden, were exhausted, his army 
& fleets annihilated & his whole Kingdom & people impov- 
erished, when that gallant prince fell by the chance shot of a 
battery an assassin on the bleak shores of the northern 
ocean in the dark hour of midnight winter, leaving a bright 
name in the annals of chivalric desperation ; but, who, re- 
gardles of his country, battled for personal fame alone ; 
while Russia had arisen, in majestic grandure like another 
imperial Rome, from amidst the dark forests of the northern 
soze, [ ?zone] & taken her exalted station, as one of the 
mightiest among the nations of the earth. Peter prosecuted 
the arts of peace in the midst of bloody campaigns, & fought 
battles but to enable him to mature & perfect his lofty 
schemes for the advancement of his subjects ; — to carry into 
effect the philanthropic plans of the philosopher. To him 
the tent was a cabinet for discussing & projecting the means 
of elevating the Russian character, & giving consequence to 
the empire, as well as the head quarters of the army. It was 
at the same time his civil throne & martial pavilion. There 
were executed plans of cities & seminaries of learning, & 
measures devised for establishing commerce, and all the im- 
portant branches of national industry, as well as for prosi- 
cuting the campaign & giving the last decisive orders for 
anticipated battle. He went from his studies for improving 
the whole empire, to mount his war-horse for to meet the 
shock of armies, & returned from victory or defeat, but to 
pursue his plans of national agrandizement, with renewed 
confidence & ardor. 

I saw in an Albany paper, this morning, that the route of 
a Rail-Road from that city to New York had been sur- 
veyed. It runs near the eastern boundary line of the state, 
on the left bank of the Hudson parallel to the valley of the 
Housatonic river. There is no grade exceeding 30 feet to 
the mile, or curves of a less radius than 1200 feet, — nearly 
all being 1,500. The length is only 147 miles. A company 
has been incorporated for executing the work. 

The lines of internal communication in this state are on 
a magnificent scale. By the letter I have written my friend 
Bigelow it has been shown what treasures are borne down 


the current of the western Pactolus. If its bed & its banks 
do not glitter with the golden sand, which rendered the ori- 
ental river celebrated in antiquity, there must be an amount 
of wealth upheld & floated on its waves, which will surpass 
in value the most precious tribute, that ever entered the gates 
of commerce. What an exciting & glorious spectacle does 
the enterprise public works of the Cataract State present. 
The prospective results, from the mighty causes which now 
are & soon will be in full & tremendous action are far beyond 
what the most intelligent & sanguine can possibly anticipate, 
not only as relates to this section of the country & its tribu- 
ory region but the whole republic. Roll on ye coming years, 
for your revolutions will be such as no other age or nation 
has experienced. We have been wrapt in wonder, but the 
next generation will look back upon what we have done & 
are doing with an astonishment which will be as much 
greater, as the extent of the population & its advancement 
in all the arts of civilization will exceed what now exists. 

December 5. On the evening of the 3d, at 7 oclock I 
went with Mr. Gillet Genl. Potter & Orlando Allen to a 
Hotel 22 miles east on the Batavia road to meet several 
chiefs, of the Tonnawanda Reservation. We were accom- 
panied by George Jimenson of the Buffalo Creek reservation 
& Little Johnson of Tonnawanda, two Chiefs of the Seneca 
nation; but after waiting there until this afternoon until 
four oclock, Little Johnson who had been to the Indian set- 
tlement distant six miles returned, & informed us the chiefs 
had from some cause changed their mind & concluded not to 
meet us & we returned to this city where we arrived at half 
past nine this evening. 

It has rained & snowed all the time we have been absent 
save the night of the 3d which was clear, & cold. We met 
James Wadsworth of Geneseo at a Hotel four miles this side 
that where we passed the two days. He came from Geneseo 
yesterday & was on his way home. I am glad to be back to 
my room here for we were miserably accomodated at the 
tavern where we passed two nights & days. A worse house 
can not well be found, as respects rooms, beds & food ; it is 


a mere teamsters Inn ; but was the nearest to the Indian set- 
tlement. Began a letter to my wife. 

December 6. It froze hard last night & it is very cold 
this morning, the wind having got veered to North west. I 
dined at Black-Rock, with Lewis F. Allen Esq. There were 
some 8 or 10 other gentlemen. I saw some beautiful bould- 
ers of brecia from Lake Superior, at the door step about 15 
inches in diameter in which were many fragments of a vivid 
red jasper. 

An Indian Chief by the name of Long John of the Alle- 
ghany reservation came in this evening & signed the treaty. 
He said he did so freely & willingly. I commenced letter 
No. 3. to my friend Bigelow, on Canals &c. &c. this evening. 
It is a cold night. 

December 7. A cold, cloudy & unpleasant morning. 
There was a fire in Exchange street last night, which broke 
out about twelve oclock ; two or three stores were burnt. 

Evening. I received an official letter from Governor 
Everett this evening, in which he expresses a doubt as to the 
propriety of receiving signatures to the treaty, in any man- 
ner, except in an open Council of the Indians. I have sub- 
mitted it to the U. S. Commissioner & requested him to give 
me a statement of the opinion entertained by the executive 
officers of the national government & what has been the cus- 
tom in similar cases. I also received a private letter at the 
same time, desiring me to return before the meeting of the 
Legislature, & I have informed the Commissioner I was 
anxious to leave by the 15th. & at all events by the 20th of 
this month. I have written 13 pages of letter No. 3 to my 
friend Bigelow, on Canals & other internal improvements. 
This has been a cold day & not being well I have not been 
out doors. [Sundry clippings, with brief comments, omit- 

December 8. Another cold, windy & cloudy night morn- 
ing, but by nine oclock, the sun came out & have had a 
bright day — for a wonder. ' I am quite well again & going 
on with my 3d letter. Intelligence was received this morn- 
ing from Detroit, by a Steam Boat, that about 600 patriots 
had crossed over to Sandwich, where an engagement had 


taken place, in which the British troops were defeated, & the 
town burnt. Two companies of the military joined the pa- 
triots. The British had 60 or 70 killed. 

I have been walking for an hour & a half; it blows, as 
usual here, a gale, the winds I find are either up or down 
the lake varying from S. E. to S. W. & from N. E. to N. W. 

This afternoon White Seneca, Little Johnson George & 
John Jimenson, came to our lodgings, with Judge Stryker, 
& the Judge read the Deposition of John Jimenson who went 
at the request of White Seneca to inform Sky Carrier that 
the Commissioner was in Buffalo & that he could go there 
& sign the treaty. He replied that he dare not go or even 
let it be known he had given a power for the commissioner 
to sign it, as he was continually watched & not allowed to go 
even into the woods to cut wood. He also stated in the de- 
position that Sky Carrier desired that White Seneca should 
sign the treaty for him, which he did with the understanding 
that the deposition was to be sent to & the case considered, at 
Washington. I asked Little Johnson, as he acted with the 
opposition last summer what threats, had been made to re- 
strain chiefs from signing & he said they were first sworn 
that they would not sign & then told if they did they would 
be put in jail for false swearing or be killed, & that many 
who wished to emigrate were frighted from assenting by ^- 

those threats. He had been threatened but was ready to 
meet any attempts on his life, as he was a warrior, but others 
were not so determined & independent. 

I completed the letter to my good wife, & wrote the Gov- 
ernor an official & private letter, in answer to those received 
from him last evening, which I sent to the post office. I now 
hope to leave for home as soon as the 17th. & God grant I 

December 9. This is the 30th. day since I left home. 
The last was the coldest night for the season. The morning 
is lowering & dark & extremely cold. The day before yes- 
terday I went into the Buffalo Bank at the request of the 
President to see the manner in which the bituminous coal 
from Bloomfield county, Ohio burnt. It is superior to the 
best English surpassing the Kennel ; is entirely free from 


sulphur ; & the only residuum is a white ashes, between the 
lamina which are from a ioth tea quarter of an inch thick. 
The pure charcoal of the wood of which the material is com- 
posed is visible, in very thin layers, entirely without bitumen. 
It can be brought to this town when the Erie & Beaver canal 
is finished & sold for 6 dollars per ton. It produces a vivid 
& great blaze, wihout any offensive smell & when the bitu- 
men is consumed the fire resembles one made of charcoal. 
This is a precious article, for the arts & domestic comfort. 
God has scattered benefits with a most bounteous hand 
through the Great Western country. 

By the annual report of the Commissioners of the canal 
fund for 1837 it appears that the property transported on 
he New York Canals during that year was as follows : 


Products of the forest 618,741 $ 6,146,716 

Agriculture 208,043 16,201,331 

Mines &c 168,000 3,134,766 

8i,735 6,390,485 



94,777 23,935,990 

1,171,296 $55,809,288 
Tolls $1,292,623,38 

The amount which passed down the Erie Canal : 


Products of the Forest 385,017 $ 4,460,137 

Agriculture 151,469 14,078,756 

Mines &c 64,777 1,286,817 

Manufactures 10,518 1,996,644 

611,781 $21,822,354 

Afternoon. Strong the Interpreter & who is a Seneca 
Chief, remarked that the Indians did not say that their 
friends were dead when speaking of such as had deceased, 
but made use of an expression which accorded with their 
notions of the immortality of the soul & the immediate en- 


trance into an eternal life of happiness in the future world. 
for it was only a long & distant journey which they had 
undertaken, without the intervention of that death, or state 
of physical non-existence we attach to the state of the body 
after life has ceased. The term used by them is,— when 
alluding to departed relations or acquaintances "san-York he 
Yah do vik," which in English he rendered thus : They 
have preceded us — or "those who have preceded us." 

December 10. A very cold night, & a violent snow 
storm with a furious gale down the lake this morning. 
Strong the interpreter informed me at breakfast this morn- 
ing that the real name of the celebrated Seneca Chief called 
Red- Jacket is Shan-go-ya-Wantah [Sa-go-ye-wat-ha] : 
meaning The Keeper-azvake : — literally, He keeps them 
awake. Red Jacket, from all the accounts I have been able 
to obtain from the Indians of his tribe & the whites who 
knew him, was, undoubtedly the ablest civil Chief & most 
eloquent man among all the North American Indians ; but 
he was a coward & a drunkard, & his whole private & public 
character infamous. Little Johnson, the present head 
Sachem of the Senecas informed me that Red Jacket had 
never been in action & was a man without any of the quali- 
ties of the warrior. Red Jacket was with him & the war- 
riors during the last war when cooperating with our army 
on this frontier but in neither of the engagements could Red 
Jacket be found. He always remained in the rear. Five 
times were the warriors of the tribe in battle near Black- 
Rock, Fort George, at Chippewa & Lundy's Lane, but Red 
Jacket never was in danger. The old chiefs informed me 
that Brant called him in derision, the Cow-Killer, as the only 
act of prowess he ever performed was to kill the cows of 
the whites during the war of the Revolution. 

This forenoon Blacksmith, one of the Tonnawanda 
Chiefs & Stephen Silversmith, of that band called on me, 
with Henry Johnson of Cattaraugus as interpreter. Black- 
smith said he was glad that I had been protected by the great 
Spirit & had again come to visit my red brethren. I replied 
that the Govr. of Massachusetts having been informed that 


the Commissioner of the U. S. was again to meet the Seneca 
Chiefs to negociate with them in relation to emigrating to 
the west, he had sent me, as he did last summer to be present 
to see that the indians were honestly & fairly treated; that 
I felt a deep interest in the indians & was anxious that they 
should so decide as would be most condusive to their present 
future happiness & prosperity ; that I was extremely de- 
sirous they should become industrious, sober & correct in 
their habits & thus preserve the remnent of their tribe from 
destruction. He thanked me for my good wishes & ob- 
served that he had watched me closely in the Council at 
Buffalo Creek & was satisfied I had a good heart & upright 
mind & was anxious to protect my poor red brethren & do 
what was in my power for their good. He said there had 
been a Council held by the Tonnawandas last monday when 
it was determined that they still were opposed to going west 
& that they wished to remain where they were. He asked 
me if I had been to Tonnawanda, I told him I was there a 
few days since. He then wished to know if any of the 
Chiefs signed the treaty at that time, I informed none had. 
He said white men & indians were among them offering 
money to them to sign the treaty & wished to know if it was 
right. I answered that it was not, & that I should endeavor 
to ascertain, whether such as did sign the treaty acted freely 
& independently; & should be happy to see any of his band 
& answer all such questions & give such information as they 
might require so far as I was able. He said they considered 
me their friend & bid me farewell. 

Johnson is a white man. He said he was made prisoner 
during the revolutionary war, but was so young that he has 
no recollection of that event. The first thing he remembers, 
was being on the banks of Niagara River near Black Rock 
& seeing the Indians catching bass. He was here when 
Genl. Lincoln [and] Col. Pickering held a council with the 
Senecas On Buffalo Creek. He has an Indian wife & lives 
like the Indians. He says he never was drunk in his life. 
He is an intelligent good looking & vigorous old man. 

December n. A dark, windy cold night & morning. I 


passed last evening at Doct Johnson's* who has a magnificent 
house, large garden & an extensive grove connected with it. 
There were about twenty ladies & gentlemen. Mrs. Johnson 
who is only 24, is a beautiful woman, her husband between 
50 & 60 too much age & too much youth, for a proper union. 
There was a sister of Mrs. Johnson only 15 years old who is 
a superb girl. She is tall plump & her whole person as com- 
pletely developed, as any females at 20. She has a brilliant 
complexion & the deep rose tint of her cheeks, with the im- 
perial turn of her person give her a truly superb appearance. 
There was a Mrs. Lordt who is beautiful. She too is only 
23 & has an old husband. Mrs. Eustafine, [ Evstaphieve ] + 
wife of the son of the Russian Consul at New York, is a 
lovely lady, about 20 years old. There was a Russian gen- 
tleman & lady who came over in the Great Western, the last 
trip. They are on their travels over the U. S. He is a 
Seignior of an estate in Bohemia, & has 2,000 tenants. He 
cultivates 2,000 acres of land with wheat, rye, oats &c The 
crop is only 6 bushels for one planted. He gave me a very 
full & detailed account of the people, their habits customs, 
schools, laws, &c &c. which I have not time to write down, 
for I must copy my 3d letter to Mr Bigelow which I have 
completed of 43 pages. This evening Charles Gray-Beard 
of Buffalo Creek reservation, & John Huchinson of [blank 
in original] signed the treaty. I asked them if they did so 
freely & willingly & they answered yes in the presence of 
James Stephenson, Tall Peter, White Seneca, Thomas 

* Dr. Ebenezer Johnson, first Mayor of Buffalo. The "magnificent house" 
where Gen. Dearborn was entertained, is still standing, well known to all who 
know historic Buffalo at all, as "the Cottage," Delaware Avenue and Johnson 

t Mrs. John C. Lord. In 1838 she was 26 years old, her husband being 
seven years her senior. 

J The allusion is to Emily, a daughter of Matthew Wilson, an English 
artist then a resident of Buffalo, and whose family of daughters were social 
favorites. Emily became the wife of Alexander Alexis Evstaphieve, a son of 
the Russian consul general at New York. He was secretary of the old Buffalo 
Mutual Insurance Company, and in 1836 built the house still standing at the 
northeast corner of Delaware Avenue and Chippewa Street, for many years the 
home of the Hon. E. Carleton Sprague. Susan Wilson, a sister of Mrs. 
Evstaphieve, married John A. Xewbould, a merchant, and won considerable dis- 
tinction as a writer under the pen-name of "Aunt Sue." 


Jimenson, George Jimenson Tommy Jimmy, John Gordon, 
George Bennet, Strong the interpreter, & Judge Stryker. 
It has rained since 3 oclock. 

I received a letter from my friend J. P. Bigelow this 
afternoon, & several of the Boston Couriers, containing my 
letter No. 1. I sent them to James Wads worth Esqr. of 
Geneseo, Genl. J. G. Swift of Geneva, & Lewis F. Allen of 

The news from Detroit this evening by the Steam Boat 
Constitution is, that the Patriots who crossed over to Sand- 
wich had been totally routed & a large number killed & 
wounded. Deluded & infatuated young men, you have 
left your parents & relatives to lament in agony your rash 
& unwarranted conduct. With good motives you have 
wrongfully & madly rushed on destruction. 

On reading Parkers tour to the Columbia river, I noticed 
the following named plants & trees, which it is desirable 
should be introduced into our eastern country. At all 
events I should like to obtain seeds of them & intend to if 

Fruits described : Gooseberries. There are four kinds : 
Common Purple, on low & very thorny bush ; White, small, 
smooth & very sweet; Yellow, this is an excellent kind & 
flavor, & grows on a stalk free from thorns. Deep Purple, 
of the size & taste of our winter grape, with a thorny stalk, 
fine flavor. 

Currants. Three kinds. Purple, very large & well 
tasted, grows on a bush eight or nine feet high. This must 
be the Ribes odoro tissomum : introduced into our gardens, 
from seeds brought by Lewis & Clark, on their return from 
the Pacific ocean. Yellow, of the size & taste of the large 
red currant: the bush four or five feet high. Scarlet. Is 
very beautiful, resembling the strawberry in sweetness, 
though rather insipid ; it grows on a low bush. Snow 
Berry. A beautiful shrub now common in our Gardens 
grows west of the Rocky Mountains. 

Nutritive Roots. Taro is bulbous plant of the genus 
arum & is planted in hills, on ground so formed as to be 
partially flooded with water, somewhat in the manner of 


cultivating rice. It is fit for use in 8 or ten months from 
setting the plants. To prepare them for food it is necessary 
they should be roasted & they are then a substitute for 
bread, or they are made into poi by pulverizing them into a 
paste. Soappatto is a bulbous root, the common soyitta 
folio, or arrow head & is found only in the valley of the 
Columbia below the Cascades. It becomes soft by roasting 
& is a nourishing & palatable food. It is much used by the 
indians & is an article of trade. It grows in shallow lakes 
& marshes covered with water. The women wade in search 
of it, feel it out in the weeds & disengage it with their feet, 
when it rises to the surface & is saved. Cammas, is a 
truncated root & is of great importance to the indians. it 
grows in moist rich ground, in the form of an onion. It is 
roasted pounded & made into loaves like bread & has a 
licorice taste. Cowish. or Biscuit root grows on dry land 
i& from about the size of a walnut considerably larger. It 
tastes like the sweet potato, & is prepared in the same man- 
ner for food as the Cammas & is a tolerable substitute for 
bread. Bitter Root, or Racine Amere, which grows on 
dry ground, & is fusiform like a carrot & although not 
pleasant to the taste, is still very conducive to health. 
Common Onion, and another characterizzed for its beautiful 
red flower, which often grows on volcanic scoria where no 
other vegetation is seen. 

Among the flowering vines in the forests near the mouth 
of Columbia river Washington Irving in his Astoria thus 
describes that, which he considered deserving of particular 
notice. Each flower is composed of six petals, about three 
inches long, of a beautiful crimson ; the inside spotted with 
white. The leaves of a fine green, are oval, & disposed in 
threes. This plant climbs upon trees with attaching itself to 
them ; when it has reached the topmost branches, it descends 
perpendicularly, & as it continues to grow, extends from 
tree to tree, until its various stalks interlace the grove like 
rigging of a ship. The stems of this vine are tougher & 
more flexible than willow & are from 300 to 600 feet in 
length. From the fibres the indians manufacture baskets, 
of such close texture, as to hold water. 


(Dendrology). The Forest Trees, near the coast are 
hemlock, spruce, white & red cedar, Yew, Cotton Wood, or 
Balm of Gilliad White Oak, & two other kinds White & 
Smamp Ash, Willow Black Walnut, & Firs. 

Firs, There are three species & constitute by far the 
greatest part of the forest trees, in the opinion of the Revd. 
Samuel Parker, the Red, Yellow & White. Red Fir, The 
foliage is scattered on all sides of the branches in the same 
form as those found in the eastern states. Yellow Fir has 
leaves only on the upper side, or upper half of the twigs. 
The white is oppositely pinnated. One species of the Fir 
grows to the enormous size of from 4 to 6 feet in diameter 
& 200 feet high & Mr Parker measured one which was 3 
feet in diameter & 250 feet high. 

Pine. The pine is not found in the low country, nor far 
west of the main chain of the Rocky mountains. They are 
the White, Norway, Pitch & Elastic. The latter is the most 
numerous. The leaves resemble those of the Pitch Pine, 
growing in bunches at the ends of the limbs, being shorter & 
smaller ; & the bark & body of the tree resembling the Larch. 
The wood is firm & very elastic. It grows very tall & 
straight & without limbs except near the top. .He found it 
very difficult to brake limbs an inch in diameter. He 
thought they would make excellent masts & spars for ships. 

Oak. On the plains below Fort Vancouver he measured 
a white oak which was 8 feet in diameter, which continued 
large about 30 feet high & then branched out immensely 
w T ide. 

Alder, the common & a species that grows very large. 

Poplar. Three kinds, common Aspen Cotton wood & 
Balm of Gilliad. 

White Maple, only in small quantities. 

Laurel or Bay. There is a tree in the low country which 
grows much in the form of the Laurel or Bay, but much 
larger. Bark smooth of a bay red color, leaves ovate (Is 
not this a Magnolia?) It has been called the straw-berry 

There are no walnut, hickory, chesnut or Sugar or Rock 
Maples west of the mountains, or Beech Bass-Wood, Black 


Cherry, Magnolia, White Wood (or Tulip tree) Elms or 
Birches except a species of Black, Locusts, Hock-berry or 

Thorn Bush. There are several varieties, many of which 
are large & fruitful. Those bearing a red berry present a 
very beautiful appearance. There is one peculiar to the 
country, the fruit of which is black & of a delightful sweet 

Salalberry is a sweet & pleasant fruit, of a dark purple 
color, & about the size of a grape. 

Service Berry is about the bigness of the thorn apple, 
black when fully ripe & pleasantly sweet, like the whortle 

Pambina, — a bush craneberry. 

Raspberries. Besides the common there is a new species, 
three times the size of the former, & is of a very delicate 
rich yellow but the flavor is less agreeable. 

Sweet Elder. A new species. 

Vining Honey suckle, he says "is among the first orna- 
ments of nature." I presume it is the vine with a scarlet 
flower described by Irving. 

Sweet flowering Pea, grows spontaniously, & ornaments 
large patches of ground. 

Red Clover. Different from the kind cultivated here, 
but not less sweet ,& beautiful. 

Wild Flax is found. In all respects except its being 
perrennial it resembles the kind cultivated among our farm- 
ers. The stalk, the bowl, the seed, the blue flower closed 
in the day time & open in the evening and morning. The 
indians use it for making fishing nets. It must be mowed 
like grass, for the roots are large & run deep into the earth. 
It would save the expense of annual ploughing & planting. 

Strawberries. Their flavor more delicious than any Mr. 
Parker had ever tasted. 

Sun Flowers. They are common but not large. 

Broom Corn, is found in many places on the bottom 
lands of the Columbia & other streams. 

Wild Grain, resembling barley or rye. 

December 21. I was violentlv attacked with a billious 


fever on the evening of the nth. I had an excruciating 
head-ache pains in my back & limbs & a severe stricture 
across my chest. They next day I took 20 grains of calomel, 
salts, & since [ ?] was bled in the evening nearly a quart. I 
have since taken ten cathartics, & although the fever has 
left me & I feel well & sit up most of the time for the last 
three days, I have no appetite as yet. My tongue is much 
furred & the Doctor says there is want of action in the liver 
& have taken for the last three nights blue pills & cleared 
them off with salts. I am better this evening. I have writ- 
ten three letters to my dear wife, one to my beloved son 
Henry & this day I wrote the Governor & my friend Bigelow 
& enclosed him letter No. 4. of 25 pages. This is numbered 
4. as No 2 was divided into 2 and 3. The two first have been 
published here & are much praised. 

Genl. Scott of the Army called on me this afternoon. 
He is just from Detroit. He does not think there will be 
any more patriot movements on that frontier this winter. 
300 had left for their homes & an 100 gone to work on the 
railroad — pitty it is they have not all been as well employed. 
He leaves tomorrow to pass down the frontier to Pitts- 

Mr. Strong the Interpreter informs me that Genesee as 
now pronounced by the Senecas Ja-nes-he-ya & the word is 
derived from Gats-he-nos-he-yu & means Good Valley. 
This is the usual first Indian salutation, Ne-on-weh-s,-gah- 
noh. I thank the Great spirit you are well. Another mode 
of salutation, Ne-on-weh - non, a-hawk, sah-s-gah-noh. I 
am happy that [you] are still in good health. 

Dec 22. I eat for the first time a piece of beef-steak last 
night at eleven and drank too tumblers of strong beer. How 
truly delicious they both tasted. It was the first return of 
appetite. I walked into the entry for the first time. I am 
invited to a public dinner. 

Genl. Scott called & passed the entire afternoon with me. 
Mr. Pratt brought me a beautiful boquet of roses geraniums 
& a Camellia. 

Dec 23. I eat a mutton chop last night at ten & drank 
a pint of ale. Genl. Scott called & sat an hour with me this 


* 1 

afternoon. I have copied letter No. 5 of 28 pages, to my 
friend Bigelow. I eat three roast apples & drank a tumbler 
of ale at 3 being all I have taken, this day save a cup of 
coffee & a piece of dry toast for breakfast. I have written 
all & just looked over a file of the Boston Atlas from the 
7th to the 19th. to be aucourant with events in the old Bay 

Half past 11. Evening. I have just eaten a hearty 
supper of beef-steak, drank a pint of ale & eaten three 

Dec. 24. I completed & enclosed to Mr. Bigelow Letter 
No. 5. of 28 pages. Israel Jimenson & George Dennis 
Chiefs & Thomas Bruner a warrier of the Cattaraugus reser- 
vation, & William Jones of the Buffalo Creek Reservation 
called on me this forenoon to inquire as to my health. They 
have been opposed to the treaty & Jimenson the most vio- 
lently. He is an able, & cunning man. I thanked them 
for their kind attention & informed them, the negociations 
would close on thursday the 27 & I hoped they would thor- 
oughly weigh all the circumstances & facts & the character 
of the proposition made to them by the government of the 
United States & so decide as may be considered best for their 
interests now & hereafter, & that they shall have no cause to 
repent, let the decision be which way it may. That I felt a 
deep interest in their welfare & was most anxious for their 
happiness & prosperity & hoped the Great Spirit would so 
guide them as to make their condition pleasant & respectable. 

They thanked me for my services & said they had con- 
fidence in [my] disposition to aid them & were highly 
gratified at the honest independent & faithful manner in 
which I had discharged my duties. We then took leave of 
each, with reciprocal wishes of health & happiness. 

December 25. Here I am, confined to my room on this 
God-blessed Christmas-day; but thanks to my Almighty 
father I am much better. My disease save a cough has 
gone. I have a good appetite, & have for three days walked 
in the entry, & hope to be able to ride out on the morrow. 
[Clipping omitted.] 

Letters to Mr. Bigelow No. 1. 30 [pages], No. 2 & 3, 40, 


No. 4. 25, No. 5. 28, No. 6. 27; Total 150 pages & copy 150 
making 300 pages of writing & covering more than three 
quires of paper. 

Dec 25 Evening 11 oclock, I have finished sent off to 
my friend Bigelow letter No. 6. & the last, on internal im- 
provements, of 2j pages. I wrote to my wife & the Gov- 

December 26. I continue to gain strength & feel better 
this morning than any previous day since the fever left me. 
I have yet a bad cough but that is passing away. I had a 
venison steak for supper at 10 oclock, as I eat only once in 
24 hours, except taking a cup of coffee in the morning of 
tea at night with a piece of dry toast. I slept well. This 
for a wonder is a clear sunny day & I intend to ride out for 
the first time. 

I received yesterday morning a letter from eighteen gen- 
tlemen of this city in behalf of those of the city & Black 
Rock to dinner, for the services they are pleased to think I 
have rendered this section of country & my own, by the six 
letters I have written & which are being published on Inter- 
nal Improvements. As I must leave to morrow for home & 
my health being so delicate, I declined the honorable atten- 
tion in a letter of three pages. 

I have written a letter to Genl. Peter B. Porter who re- 
sides in a new & magnificent house he has just completed 
near Niagara Falls regretting I cannot avail myself of his 
kind invitation to pass a day & night under his hospitable 
roof. In it I expressed my opinion of the prosperous 
destinies of this city & the whole bank of the Niagara to the 
stupendous Cataract, & of his patriotic military & civil ser- 
vices &c &c &c. 

Evening. Thanks to the Lord, the negociations closed 
this day with the Seneca Indians & I leave God willing for 
home to morrow. 

Mr. Hiram Pratt called at 3 oclock & took me to ride in 
his carriage, as far as Black Rock. 

Evening 11 oclock. I have bought a red Indian Blanket 
& had a black cord & tassels put to it so as to wear it like a 
cloak, or Roman toga. I have just eaten for supper a veni- 


son steak & drank two tumblers of ale. I have had a flannel 
breast plate made to protect my lungs, as I have a severe 
cough yet. I left home on the 9th of November & therefore 
have been absent 48 days being seven weeks to morrow. 
O! how anxious I am to be on my way to my dear wife & 
children, & once [more] be in my darling, comfortable & 
peaceful home. 

Batavia December 28. Morning I left Buffalo at 12 
with my good & kind young friend Ho-non-deah, the In- 
terpreter of the United States & a Chief of the Seneca Nation 
of Indians ; who insisted on accompanying me to Boston, to 
take care of me, he being bound to Washington on business 
of the Tribe. We got here at half past seven & I was 
stronger & felt better than the moment I left. We dined at 
Allen's tavern ten miles from Buffalo, on venison steak. 
We have a fine parlor, & bed-rooms adjoining nicely fitted 
up & with a roaring wood fire passed the evening pleasantly 
after taking a cup of the best coffee, with new cream, (what 
I have not seen, but once, since I left home) a nice beef-steak 
& good toast with sweet butter. I read the Gazetteer of 
Michigan, which I bought in Buffalo, It is by John T. Blois 
& was recently published in Detroit in one vol. large i2mo. 
It gives the geography, character of soil, minerology, 
zoology, & botany of the country. The political divisions 
& statistics &c &c &c. It is a valuable little work, for that 
young state has risen up so suddenly from a wilderness, 
that its towns population & actual condition were scarcely 
known. I took too pills & went to bed at half past eleven, 
but waking, at half past one from a bad spell of coughing, I 
got so wide awake I was obliged to get [up] and make a fire 
& dry me & here I am feeling superbly thanks to a Merciful 
God, to whom I return, with a contrite heart my most 
grateful thanks. We expect to reach Canandaigua this 

Five oclock in the morning. I have since I got up at 
half past one, made out my report to the Governor of twelve 

December 29. Utica. I left Batavia at half past nine. 
& got to Avon on the right bank of Genesee river, distance 


25 miles at two oclock. I had hired a private carriage on 
runners a pair of horses & a driver to take us as far as 
Auburn 128 miles, but there was so little snow from Cala- 
donia to Avon, & leaving there was still less, as far as 
Syracuse, the driver said he could not get on any further 
with runners. I therefore determined to try my strength 
in getting into the mail stage, which I did at 5 in the after- 
noon & got to Canandaigua at 9 where I took two cups of 
green tea & eat a piece of bread & butter ; at midnight we 
reached Geneva, there I took a tumbler of gin & water eat 
a piece of minced pie, cheese & bread & butter; got to 
Auburn at 5, breakfasted & took the rail-road, horse-drawn- 
cars for Syracuse & then a sleigh for Utica, where I arrived 
at eight oclock, completely exhausted. I had a bad head- 
ache was so tired I could scarcely move or speak, my back 
and limbs ached. The night & day had been dreadfully cold, 
while it snowed & blew a gale ; but I was not cold, for be- 
sides my Russian fur-lined great coat, I had an other over it 
made of an Indian red blanket, stout red Canada stock — 
stockings which drew on over my boots & reached nearly to 
my vest & over them thick buck skin moccasins, & a merino 
shawl tied round my neck, still I feared I had taken cold & 
should be detained I took a large tumbler of lemonade the 
first thing, at Utica, had a parlor prepared with a good rous- 
ing fire, washed myself & at nine eat a hearty supper of beef- 
steak & drank two cups of strong coffee, at ten drank another 
tumbler of lemonade & went to bed & as my sleeping room 
adjoined the parlor, in which I left a good fire, I slept like 
a calm on the ocean, got up at five & felt a new man, feeling 
superbly. I had hired a servant to make a fire at 4 my 
parlor was therefore warm & I washed & shaved & put on 
clean linen & stockings, & now I am in good condition to 
take the rail-road cars to Albany, which leave at nine, — 
after I have eaten breakfast. Genl. Gillet, overtook us at 
Avon, in the stage & accompanied us to Syracuse, where he 
took the stage that branches off to Ogdensburgh. 

Albany, Dec. 30. We left Utica in the cars of the Rail- 
Road at nine & reached this city at 5, in the afternoon. Five 
of the cars were thrown from the track & among them that 


in which were Mr. Strong & myself, but no one was injured. 
I have copied my official report to the Governor of 14 pages, 
wrote him a private letter of 4 & it is now quarter past one, 
& as we are to leave in the mail stage at 2 for Boston, I shall 
not go to bed; — have called up my young Indian Chief 
friend & we must pack up. 

Northampton December 31. 1838. We had a very cold 
ride to Pittsfield, where we arrived at 9 in the morning. We 
learned the thermometer had been down to 10 below zero. 
We were upset descending the horrible, long crooked, & 
steep Snake Hill in Perus. Reached this town at 6, when I 
was very much exhausted, but a light supper & two strong 
cups of coffee have set me up & I feel quite bright. I have 
now been riding five days & nights, come 400 miles & have 
been in bed only 8 hours since I left Buffalo. 

Judge Eldridge, of the State of New York, came in the 
car with me, from Utica to Albany, & related the following 
facts, in relation to the events of the Revolutionary war. 
His father James Eldridge lived near Fort Miller on the left 
bank of the Hudson river & was one of the Committee of 
safety for the northern District of the state of New York. 
He went with other Whigs to join Genl Stark's command 
before the battle of Bennington & was in that important en- 
gagement. There was a clergyman by the name of Elder 
Gardiner, who went with .about a hundred tories from the 
north eastern part of Vermont & joined the British forces 
under Baum. When the captured troops were marched off 
to Boston, the W'higs of New York who were in the action 
took a long rope & tying one end round the neck of Gardiner 
passed it round that of all the other tories & they were 
marched off in a string, the loyal priest leading the van. 
When Burgoyne had reached the Hudson & Genl. Gates had 
moved up the Hudson to still water, Mr. Eldridge received 
intelligence one morning that he was to be taken from his 
house the following night by a party of tories & Indians & 
carried into the British camp to be hung. His family had 
been sent down to Albany on the advance of Burgoyne & he 
was with one man cultivating his land. They put all the 
furniture in the cellar of everv kind & threw water on the 


fire so as to wet the ashes & cool the hearth & give the house 
the appearance that it had been long abandoned. As soon 
as it was dark he retired back into a thick wood grown up 
with bushes & having taken a bed & blankets made up a place 
to sleep for the night. It was at the foot of a narrow ridge 
of land that ran parallel to the river for some distance. 
About ten oclock, they heard the march of men & conversa- 
tion coming down the ridge & soon halted on the ridge di- 
rectly above them & but a few rods distant. A consultation 
was had & a detachment sent to the house, of indians & tories 
to take him. In about half an hour they returned & reported 
that they had been into & all over the house & that the man 
who had given them the information that Eldridge was liv- 
ing there was a liar for there was no furniture in the house, 
& there was all the appearance that the house had not been 
inhabited for a long time. To his astonishment Eldridge 
heard the name of his nearest neighbor given as the villain 
who had given the information for his arrest. The party 
soon began to retrace their steps. Eldridge told his hired 
man to lie still where he was & he would endeavor to cross 
the river & give information to Genl. Gates of the expedition 
which consisted of about eighty tories & Indians. He ran 
down to the Hudson & soon found a slop [sloop] on which 
he placed himself & paddled with his hands & feet across 
the river. As soon as he landed he was seized by a Sentinal 
& carried into the camp. He gave an account of what had 
transpired when a strong detachment was immediately sent 
across the river in boats, & passing rapidly up until they 
presumed they were sufficiently high up to cut off the British 
scout, & then made for the ridge, where they captured all the 
tories & several Indians & carried them prisoners into the 
American camp. 

Hawthorn Cottage Jany i. 1838. Praise be to Almighty 
God I reached my beloved home at half past six this evening, 
& found my wife better & my son William well. I was but 
twelve hours in bed from the time I left Buffalo, during the 
six days I was on this journey ; & all the other sleep I got 
was in the stages sleighs & rail-road cars. My health is 
slightly improved. H . A. S. Dearborn. 




1839, MADE BY . 


Journal kept by H. A. S. Dearborn, during his journey 
to Cattaraugus, to attend a Council of the Six 
Nations of Indians, convened to meet the Hon. 
J. R. Poinsett, Secretary of War, in relation to 
a treaty negociated, with tribes, the i5th. of 
January 1838. 

August 7. 1839. I left Boston in the Rail Road Cars at 4 
oclock for Stonington where I arrived at nine oclock & went 
on board a Steam-Boat, which left immediately for New 

My nephew William Raymond Lee accompanied me, for 
the purpose of examining the rail-road from Albany on the 
route to Buffalo & to see the country. He is the Superinten- 
dent of the Boston & Providence Rail-Road. 

Mr. N. Silsbee, of Salem late Senator from this state, in 
Congress was on board the boat, having come round from 
New port in her. 



August 8. We reached New York at six oclock in the 
morning, & went directly on board one of the North River 
Steamers, bound to Albany, which left at seven. We had 
as fellow passengers, Genl. Morgan Lewis, Mr. Talmage, 
one of the U. S. Senators from the state of New York & his 
cousin Genl. Talmage with his celebrated beautiful daugh- 
ter ; & truly lovely in person & manners & mind she is. She 
has recently made the tour of Europe with her father & was 
universally admired as a brilliant sample of the American 

Genl. Lewis was aid to Genl. Gates, in the campaign of 
Saratoga & confirms what my father often stated to me, — 
that Genl. Gates did not leave his quarters, situated in the 
rear of the American lines, during the actions of the 19th. 
of September & 8th of October. He is now 85 years of age, 
but is a vigorous, active & interesting old man. We reached 
Albany at seven oclock in the evening & put up at Congress 
Hall, near the State House. 

August 9. Having learned that Genl. Scott had re- 
turned from a visit to the Winnebago Indians in Wisconsin 
& left yesterday morning for Saratoga Springs to join the 
Secretary of War & accompany him to Cattaraugus, & that 
they would not leave for several days I concluded to go on 
to the Springs & left Albany in the Rail-Road Cars at 6 
oclock this morning. We breakfasted at Schenectada & 
reached Saratoga Springs at half past ten, having stoped a 
few moments at Ballstown, which I had not visited since I 
was there with my ever honored father a few years after 
the war. I think in 1817. Wherever I go I am continually 
reminded of my good & excellent & patriotic father. He was 
in so many conspicuous positions during the Revolutionary 
& last war & had such an extensive acquaintance, that either 
the places he was at, or meeting men who knew him con- 
tinually remind me of him. He was a truly honest, & patri- 
otic citizen; a just, kind-hearted & an inflexably faithful 
officer, & good man ; a better never lived. True to his coun- 
try, his friends, family & his God. May I emulate his vir- 
tues & meritorious conduct, in all respects. I found Genl 
Scott at the United States Hotel, who informed me, that 


Mr. Poinsett,* the Secretary of War had left the evening 
before for Buffalo, I therefore concluded to return to Schen- 
ectady & take the night train of cars to Utica. 

The President of the United States, Martin Van Buren, 
being at the Springs I waited upon him with General Scott, 
at eleven & at twelve he left for Balstown on this way to 
Troy. I saw many friends at the Springs & among them 
the Honble. Abbot Lawrence, of Boston, Peleg Sprague late 
of the U. S. Senate, from Maine, & Mr. Taylor former 
Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Hon Henry 
Clay was to arrive at five from the North, having been via 
Buffalo, Ogdensburgh & Montreal to Quebec. There were 
at least 3,000 ladies & gentlemen at the Springs & I re- 
gretted thciC I could not witness the triumphal entry of the 
illustrious Statesman of the West & the Whig candidate for 
President; but as I was obliged to be in Buffalo by the 
nth, it was necessary to take the four oclock cars for 
Schenectady, where we arrived at seven & took supper, & at 
nine departed in the western train for Utica. 

August 10. We reached Utica at five & left at six for 
Syracuse, where we arrived at nine & took breakfast, but, to 
our regret, learned, that the Steam-boats United States & 
Great Britain had come in contact on Lake Ontario & so 
injured were both, that there would not be any boat from 
Oswego to Lewiston before the evening of the nth. We 
therefore proceeded on to Auburn in the Cars & there took 
the mail Stage for Buffalo. My friend Samuel G. Perkins 
was with us, as far as Cayuga, being bound on an excursion 
for his health. 

August n. We rode all last night having taken tea at 
Canadagua & breakfasted at Batavia. We got to Buffalo 

* Joel Roberts Poinsett (1778-1851) was a South Carolina statesman who 
held many legislative and diplomatic offices. During the War of 1812 he was 
sent by President Madison on a special embassy to South American countries, 
in an effort to establish more friendly relations between them and the United 
States. He served in Congress, was U. S. Minister to Mexico, 1825-29, and 
was Secretary of War during Van Buren's administration. Poinsett Barracks, 
for many years the military establishment in Buffalo — bounded by Main, Allen, 
Delaware and North streets — was named in his honor; as is also the popular 
scarlet-bracted Mexican flower, Poinscttia pule her ina, which he introduced in 
this country — for he devoted himself to natural history as well as to military and 
civic interests. 



at two oclock in the afternoon, having rode three days & two 
nights without a halt. I was much fatigued & had suffered 
during the whole ride from Schenectady, from a terrible 

On my arrival at Buffalo, I found Mr. Poinsett had not 
reached the city, at which intelligence I was much gratified, 
for I feared I should be obliged to ride the third night, to be 
at Cattaraugus, in season to attend the Council, which had 
been ordered to convene on the 12th. I went to bed & slept 
until seven, then got up found my Indian friend, the Seneca 
Chief Hon-non-de-ah at the American Hotel, where I had 
taken rooms, & T. L. Ogden & brother & Air. Fellows of 
Geneva the representatives of the preemtive owners of the 
Indian lands, also Mr. Wadsworth of Geneseo, son of the 
Patriarch of Western New York.. Judge Stryker, Mr. 
Orlando Allen & Genl. Potter & Mr. Pratt the Mayor called 
on me. 

August 12. I took pills last night, for I was feverish & 
my head in great pain ; but I am better this morning. The 
Secretary of War arrived this morning, & had chartered a 
Steam-Boat to take us up Lake Erie to Cattaraugus Creek. 
We left at there oclock, accompanied by Col, Bankhead & 
Capt Williams of the army, Mr. Krehmer, Secretary of the 
Russian Legation, many other gentlemen & several Indian 
Chiefs, from the Oneida, Onondaga, Tuscarora & Seneca 
tribes. The afternoon was calm & warm & the excursion 
over the lake delightful. We reached Irving at the mouth 
of Cattaraugus creek, just before sunset, & went to the 
Hotel to lodge. It is a small village of some ten or a dozen 
buildings. Piers are being erected at the mouth of the 
Creek, to make the entrance into the harbor easy & safe, & to 
deepen the channel, by compressing the water into a narrow 
bed. This is destined to be a large flourishing town, as the 
land is excellent, on the Cattaraugus Creek, & in the adjacent 
country, & when the Indians shall have been removed, the 
large tract of land they now occupy will be covered with 
luxurient farms & a dense population. There were many 
Indians in the village. 

August 13. I left Irving in a stage-coach, with the Sec- 


retary of War & eleven other gentlemen & Indians for the 
Council House of the Cattaraugus band of Senecas, distant 
six miles. As three miles of the road was through a dense 
wood, & of the rudest kind, the carriage upset, by which I 
was injured in my head & right hip; but got into a little 
waggon & went on. One of the Indians had his cheek badly 

The Council was opened at eleven and addressed by the 
Secretary of War & myself. For the particulars of the pro- 
ceedings see my official report to Governor Everett. There 
were present at the Council ten or twelve Quakers from 
Philadelphia & New York, who had been sent by the socie- 
ties of Friends in those cities to prevent any improper 
efforts being made to induce the Indians to emigrate ; a sort 
of self created kind of ministers, who presumed to take the 
Indians under their special protection. They had good mo- 
tives for their conduct, but it was an act of officiousness, 
which our government excuses, for here all are confident of 
their right to meddle, in all national or state affairs. The 
modest assurance of Sectarians of all religious, denomina- 
tions is continually being evinced, in their resolutions, peti- 
tions to Congress, missions to all nations savage & civilized, 
and their impertinent efforts to regulate the conduct & man- 
ners of the whole people. They are now waging a war 
against spirit, wine & beer, & the slavery of the South. Each 
year brings some new object for their fanatical operations. 
May they ever be as harmless as we have experienced they 
were futile & ridiculous ; but a time may come, when such 
officious & impertinent interference with state & national 
affairs, may lead to disastrous consequences. 

August 14 I passed the night with the Reved. Mr. Bliss, 
the Missionary to this band of Senecas. The Council was 
opened at ten & the Chiefs of the Senecas, Tuscaroras. 
Cayugas, Oneidas & Onondagas, spoke against & in favor of 
emigration, to the number of fourteen, & then the Secretary 
of War informed them that he should report the result of 
the inquiries, he had made to the President, who would 
decide whether the treaties were to be carried into effect or 
not. I made a farewell speech & the Council was concluded 



between three & four oclock. I dined with Mr. Bliss & he 
was so kind as to take me in his wagon down to Irving, at 
the mouth of Cattaraugus Creek, where I arrived a little 
before sunset. 

Mr. Kurtz, Chief Clerk in the office of the Commissioner 
for Indian Affairs, having accompanied Mr. Poinsett to pay 
the annuities to the Indians, performed that duty at the Hotel 
in Irving & we left in the Steam-boat at eight oclock for 
Buffalo, where we arrived at midnight. 

August 15. I attended a review of several Companies of 
Col. Bankhead's Regiment of Artillery, with the Secretary 
of War, Col. Worth Majr. Hitchcock & many other gentle- 
men & ladies. At four oclock in the afternoon we left 
Buffalo for Niagara Falls in the Rail-Road Cars, where we 
arrived at six. Went down to the bank of the river & had 
one look at the mighty Cataract, then went back to the 
Eagle Hotel to supper. I passed the evening at Genl. P. B. 
Porter's, where I met the Secretary of War, several officers 
of the American & some of the British Army & other com- 

August 16. I went with my nephew William Raymond 
Lee across the Niagara, just below the falls, visited the 
Battle-Field of Lundy's Lane & Table Rock & then returned, 
when we walked round Goat Island, dined, & took our seats 
in the Rail-Road Cars for Lewiston, where we embarked on 
board the Steam Boat United States, for Oswego. 

August 17. We left Lewiston at five oclock & owing to 
a head wind did not reach Oswego until 8 this morning, 
when we immediately took passage in a Canal Packet-Boat 
for Syracuse, where we arrived at five oclock in the after- 
noon ; entered the Rail-Road Cars for Utica where we ar- 
rived at eight oclock & put up for the night ; but the Secre- 
tary of War continued on to Schenectady being anxious to 
join the President at Saratoga Springs the 18th. 

August 1 8th. We left Utica at eight oclock & reached 
Albany at five. I was pleased at finding the Hon. Henry 
Clay at the Eagle Hotel, where I put up & passed a portion 
of the evening in his room. He introduced me to Mr. 
Griffen of New York, a lawyer of eminence, who requested 


me to go into his room, where he read an account of a visit 
to the Battle-Field of Saratoga, which he made with Mr. 
Clay & some 30 or 40 other gentlemen, & among them 
General Morgan Lewis who gave an account of the two 
battles, that was interesting. It was for publication & he 
promised to send me a paper in which it should be printed. 

August 19. Left Albany in the Steam boat Erie, on 
board of which was Mr. Clay, who was met by a large Com- 
mittee in a Steamer with a band of music some 20 miles 
above Poughkeepsie, who had been sent from that city to 
escort him to the landing where he was received by a vast 
assemblage of people. We reached New York at dark, & put 
up at the Astor House. 

August 20. We are obliged to wait for the Steamer for 
Providence & took passage in the Massachusetts at five 
oclock. Wrote a report to the Governor during the fore- 

August 21. Arrived in Providence at eleven oclock & 
reached home at one oclock. 

H. A. S. Dearborn. 

Roxbury August 21. 1839. 






I. Life of Augustus Porter; by Charles Mulford 

II. Early Life of Augustus Porter, written by him- 
self IN 1848. 

III. . Letters of Augustus Porter. 

IV. Life and Adventures of Judah Colt; written by 


V. Joseph Landon's Reminiscences. 
VI. Survey of South Shore of Lake Erie, 1789. 






> :Z : -'" 

, 4 





' : : 







\ e*****^ i 

















First Judge of Niagara County, 1808. 
r ROM an Oil Portrait in the Porter Homestead. Niagara Falls. N. 





I. Ancestry. 

Among the men firm of purpose and of indomitable 
courage who, before the dawn of the last century, strode 
down the rugged hillsides and crossed the pleasant valleys of 
New England and, coming to the borders of the river Hud- 
son crossed to explore the country beyond, few names stand 
out with greater prominence than that of Augustus Porter. 
And few pioneers have formed a link so worthy between a 
brilliant future and a noble past. 

Augustus Porter transplanted the virtue, valor, intellect, 

* Charles Mulford Robinson, author of the accompanying biography of Judge 
Porter, is the son of Arthur and Jane H. (Porter) Robinson. Born at Ramapo, 
N. Y., in 1869, he graduated from the University of Rochester in 1891; from 
which year until 1902 he was one of the editors of the Rochester Post-Express, 
with intervals of foreign travel and continuous study of civic aesthetics. Since 
1902 he has been secretary of the American Park and Outdoor Art Association. 
He is a member of numerous organizations which have for their aim architec- 
tural improvement, the beautifying of cities, and the betterment of conditions 
for many of the dwellers therein. He is well known as a writer on topics in 
his special field, notably so by his books on "The Improvement of Towns and 
Cities" and "Modern Civic Art." He resides in Rochester, where the biography 
of Judge Porter was originally printed and privately published, 1896, as a small 
book, in an edition of but fifty copies. It has now been revised by the author, 
for publication with Judge Porter's own narrative, in the present volume of the 
Buffalo Historical Society Publications. 

229 -tfC 


and polish of a strong old race from stern New England to 
wild New York, just as his father's great-great-grandfather 
had brought it from England to New England nearly a hun- 
dred and fifty years before, and as, six centuries before that, 
William de la Grande had brought it in the train of William 
the Conqueror from France to England. That Norman 
knight had a son named Ralph, who, as gentleman of the 
bed chamber to King Henry I., was called "Grand Porteur." 
Thence came the family surname ; and for twenty-one gen- 
erations it had passed without a break to Augustus Porter, 
merely changing in the new world from chosen servant of 
king to elected servant of country. 

The long line of generations, fully traced, reads now but 
as a list of names in which each life is reduced to the one 
great level ; and one reads over and over, with only a change 
in the names and dates, the dull round — in which each event, 
however, has meant so much — "born, married, had issue, 
and died !" And yet there are some fine names on the list. 
Good lives must have been lived and brave deeds done, of 
which the story is now untold, between these single events 
on which the existence of posterity depends. There was the 
Norman knight, William de la Grande; there was Ralph,. 
"Grand Porter" to King Henry, from 1120 to 1140; there 
was a John who was knight of Court lodge ; there was an- 
other whose wife was Judith Wood, daughter of the secre- 
tary of King Henry VIII ; there was Robert Dean of Lin- 
coln ; there was William, who was Henry the Seventh's sar- 
geant at arms ; there was a Sir William ; and there was 
Endymion, a celebrated courtier of the time of Charles the 
First and gentleman of the bedchamber to the king.* And 
though not all of these are in the same line, many of them 
are; and they go back to the same ancestor, and their lives 
make the history of the Porter family in England. And they 
all have the same arms, the same crest, and motto : 

* A portrait of Endymion (paint'ed by Dobson) hangs in the National Por- 
trait Gallery, London. Following is part of the inscription below the portrait: 
"Endymion Porter, 1 587-1 649. Man of letters and patron of the fine arts. 
Born at Ashton near Campton in Gloucestershire. Entered the service of 
King James I., and attended Charles when Prince of Wales to Spain. Captain 
of the Seventh Regiment of Foot and appointed Governor of the Bedchamber to 
Charles I., whose confidential agent he became. * * * " 




Arms — Sable, church bells, three, argent. 

Crest — Between two pillars roofed and spired a church 
bell argent. 

Motto — "Vigilantia et virtute." 

It was from such stock as this that John Porter came, 
the first of the Porter emigrants to the new world. Of the 
company which he joined, a company that had made*a settle- 
ment on the banks of the Connecticut and named it Windsor 
after journeying more than a hundred miles through the 
trackless wilderness from Massachusetts, Trumbull says : 
Many were "persons of figure, who had lived in England in 
honor, affluence and delicacy." And John Porter, no doubt, 
was such a man; for he not only held several offices, but 
his will, which has been printed in the public records of Con- 
necticut, shows him to have been one of the wealthiest of the 
colonists. This John had twelve children, of whom all but 
two were born in England, for he is supposed to have come 
over in 1639. And when he died we know that to his son 
Samuel, who removed to Hadley and founded the long line 
of Porters there, a valuable lot was assigned in the center 
of the village. His grandson Samuel left "the immense 
estate of £10,000." 

And so the Porters in the new world, foremost in all 
undertakings, came soon to illustrate the new kind of service 
of which we spoke — that of the people, instead of that of the 
king — and none of them proves this better than does the 
father of Augustus Porter. Dr. Joshua was a physician of 
the old school ; he was a man of high and robust character ; 
in times of peace a statesman-doctor, in days of war a sol- 
dier-doctor, a man who was always full of activity. Of the 
long life of Joshua Porter, he died at the age of 95, we have 
a full account. The records of the time are not silent re- 
garding so prominent a personage, and these are supple- 
mented by a sketch which he himself wrote, "August y e 2d, 
1820, I now being in y e 91st year of my age." This sketch 
is printed in the appendix of the Porter Genealogy. 

The main facts in the life of Augustus Porter's father, 
gathered from these and other sources, are as follows : 
Joshua Porter was born in Lebanon, Conn., June 26, 1730. 


His father died when he was nine years old, and when his 
mother married again, five years later, Joshua chose as guar- • 
dian his great-uncle, Peter Buell, Esq., of Coventry. With 
him he lived for the next five years, farming in the summers. 
Meanwhile Nathaniel, Joshua's older brother, had been at 
college, and when he took his degree, Joshua attended the 
commencement at New Haven. "I then determined," he 
writes, "to lay out y* small patrimony left to me by my 
father in getting an education." Accordingly he studied 
with his brother, in the following year was admitted to 
Yale, and in 1755 was graduated. He then took up the 
study of medicine at Coventry, and at the end of the year 
1757 he began to practice at Salisbury.* He continued a 
practicing physician for more than forty years, accumulat- 
ing considerable property, which he invested in land. In 
Salisbury he came to hold about 240 acres, and the latter 
part of his life he devoted to farming more than to physic. 
His practice had been very extensive, and he was esteemed, 
says the "History of Litchfield County," "one of the most 
skillful physicians of his day." His treatment of smallpox 
throws light on his courage and progressiveness. This dread 
disease was the scourge of the colonies, and vaccination was 
undreamed of. In London, however, the practice of inocu- 
lating well persons with the disease, so inducing a mild at- 
tack and making them henceforth immune, was known. Dr. 
Porter purchased, to quote his own words, "Y e skill of Dr. 
Burard of Elizabethtown in y e Jerseys," and was himself 
inoculated. He tried to introduce the practice among his 
patients, but they objected so strongly that in 1761 he was 
even prosecuted for the attempt. By 1785 the people were 
sufficiently convinced to allow inoculation for a month. 

The house which was built by Dr. Porter in 1774, and 
which was the boyhood home of Aug. Porter is still stand- 
ing, in the center of the village on the main street. It is one 
and a half stories high, long and narrow. The roof is steep. 
The ridge pole runs the length of the house and there are 

* This part of Salisbury is now known as Lakeville (Conn.). Porter rela- 
tives still reside there and among their number has been Governor Holly of 





From a Photograph taken in 1901 


tall windows in the gables. Near each end rises a chimney 
of red brick. A wing ran back from the house and back of 
that there are the remains of an open shed with the old well 
in front of it. On the farm one may find what is still called 
the "Porter Pit," though iron is no longer drawn from it. 
In the days of the Revolution there were many active fur- 
naces about it and of them all Joshua Porter was superin- 
tendent. It is said that at one of his furnaces was forged the 
anchor for the Constitution — "Old Ironsides." 

The public life also of Joshua Porter was long and 
active. Two years after coming to Salisbury he was chosen 
lister, and was reappointed in each of the three following 
years. Then he became selectman, and was kept in this 
office for twenty years. In 1765 he was chosen representa- 
tive to the general assembly, and was steadily re-elected for 
more than fifty years, including all the Revolutionary period. 
During that time he was a member of the committee on the 
pay-table, was lieutenant-colonel of the Fourteenth Connec- 
ticut regiment of militia, receiving his commission in May, 
1774, and was agent to look after the first home made cannon 
and balls used in the war, those manufactured from the 
celebrated iron at Salisbury. At the battle of Saratoga, there 
being a scarcity of officers, Dr. Porter voluntarily led a regi- 
ment through the engagement ; and then at its close attended 
in the hospital those who had been wounded in the fight. 
He was one of eleven to borrow from the colonial treasury 
of the state of Connecticut, on their individual obligation 
and security, money to defray the expenses of the Ticon- 
deroga expedition. He had command of a regiment at 
Danbury, for six weeks at Peekskill, and at the capture- of 
General Burgoyne. In 1777 he was appointed justice of the 
peace for the county of Litchfield, in 1778 was appointed 
justice of quorum holding the office until 1791. when he was 
made judge of the court. This position he held for 17 years, 
and for 37 years, in addition to his other offices and during 
his half-century membership in the general assembly, he was 
judge also of probate for the district of Sharon. 

Nor was so old and prominent a family as the Porters 
without wide connections. Besides the Buell relatives in 


Coventry there were relatives in Litchfield, probably in 
Boston, and in Hadley. In the latter place, as contempo- 
raries of Dr. Joshua, we read of Squire Porter, of Lawyer 
Porter, and of the cousin Elizabeth Porter who married 
Charles Phelps and whose quaint journal has been pub- 
lished in "Under a Colonial Roof-Tree." These Porters of 
Hadley were prominent personages. The squire was high 
sheriff of the county and a colonel in the Revolutionary war, 
besides holding various other offices ; and was rich. Lawyer 
Porter's wife was a daughter of Jonathan Edwards, and the 
best society of the time was at their command. There were 
many "tea drinkings" at the different Porter houses ; there 
were frequent visits from Edwards, President Dwight, and 
at least one from Dr. Porter. Another distinguished guest 
was General Burgoyne. Squire Porter, as Yankee colonel, 
had been present at his surrender; and when the general, 
under escort of the colonel, was passing through Hadley 
after the event, the latter invited him to be his guest for two 
or three days. The courtesy was so appreciated by the Brit- 
ish officer that when he departed he gave Porter his sword 
in recognition of the generous hospitality. In Hadley, by 
the way, the office of justice of the peace is said to have been 
held in this branch of the Porter family for two hundred 
years — an extraordinary record certainly, and one indicating 
confidence from the public and faithfulness to the interests 
of the community. 

It was from such stock on his father's side that Augus- 
tus, destined to be the third of the Porter pioneers, was born. 
On his grandmother's side was the blood of Roger Williams ; 
and his mother was Abigail Buell, the daughter of William 
Buell, who had come from Huntingdonshire in England 
seven years before the Porters had emigrated. The family 
in England, Buell there written Beville. was ancient and 
noble. William was almost certainly a younger son of Sir 
Robert, Knight of the Bath ; and the family's ramifications 
are described as having extended through all the leading 
countries of Europe. Joshua Porter writes that with this 
member of it, he "lived with y e greatest harmony and con- 
nubial state." 


II. The Surveyor. 

Augustus Porter was born January 18, 1769, in his 
father's home at Salisbury, Connecticut, in the small county 
(Litchfield) of which it has been said that no other equal 
area in the United States has given to the world so many 
famous men ; and among them he was to deserve, and be 
given, a place. Augustus Porter was the fourth in a family 
of six children : Joshua, Abigail, Eunice, Augustus, Peter 
B., and Sally. He acquired the rudiments of education in 
the common school of his native town, working on the farm 
in the summer. When he was 17 he studied surveying for a 
few months in Lebanon ; but his tutor dying he had soon to 
return to his father's house. He was able, however, to gain 
some practical as well as theoretical knowledge of his chosen 
profession, and his keen ambition dissatisfying him with the 
narrow though busy life of a New England valley, Augustus 
Porter determined in 1789, when 20 years old, to leave home 
and to journey to the West. He joined a party from Shef- 
field, Massachusetts, and went to Ontario (then just taken 
from Montgomery) county in New York to survey lands in 
which his father held an interest. 

Of this journey, his first into the wilderness of Western 
New York, we have from Augustus Porter himself a full 
and most interesting account. Part of it is printed in Tur- 
ner's "Holland Purchase.'' His future companions were 
met in Schenectady early in May. The party was well pro- 
visioned and had two boats, each navigated by four men. 
The course from Schenectady was up the Mohawk to Fort 
Stanwix (now Rome), the Little Falls being passed by a 
carry. At the fort there was another carry of about a mile 
to Wood creek. This is a very small stream, but at the port- 
age there was a saw-mill dam which created a considerable 
pond. When full, its contents could be rapidly discharged, 
and upon the flood so occasioued the two btfats were borne 
seven miles, to where Wood creek is joined by Canada creek. 
By means of the latter the travelers gained Oneida lake, and 
then, passing through that and its outlet, they came to 
Three River point. Thence the course was up the Seneca 


river and Seneca outlet to Seneca lake at Geneva. The only 
interruptions were at Seneca Falls, and Waterloo (then 
known as Scoy's*). "At Seneca Falls, " says the journal that 
Augustus Porter wrote long afterwards, "we passed our 
boats up the stream — empty, by the strength of a double 
crew, our loading being taken around by a man named Job 
Smith, who had a pair of oxen and a rudely constructed cart, 
the wheels of which were made by sawing off a section of a 
log some 2y 2 or 3 feet in diameter." Only three white per- 
sons were seen in the whole journey from Fort Stanwix to 
Geneva. The latter was then the most important of the 
western settlements and consisted of some six or seven 

Leaving boats and cargoes at Geneva, the party divided, 
four of the leaders, including Porter, following the Indian 
trail, packs on backs, to Canandaigua. At this place, then 
called Kanandargua, there were ten or twelve persons, nearly 
all of whom had come out less than two weeks before. 
There were only four houses, and these were of logs. 

From Canandaigua young Porter went direct to his des- 
tination, "township No. 10, fourth range," now East Bloom- 
field. With the necessary "hands and provisions" he made 
the survey of the town, and then passed to "township, No. 9, 
sixth range," now Livonia. This, he says, was one of the 
best in the Genesee country, but he declined to purchase 
when land there was offered to him at 20 cents an acre. 
Various towns were surveyed, Porter's business growing 
apace. It was rough, exciting work in that wild country ; 
and there was at least one massacre by Indians, the sufferers 
being a small surveying party like Porter's, and only a short 
distance from his. 

Several years were spent in this work. In the fall Porter 
generally returned to Connecticut, spending the winter in 
writing out his field notes at his father's house in Salisbury. 
Each spring he would return to "the West," generally mak- 
ing the journey each way by the water route. Once, in 
December, he went on foot ; and once, in February, in a 
two-horse sleigh. Of the foot journey his record merely 

* Also spelled Scoyase. 


says that it "was very tedious," owing- to the depth of the 
snow. He had three companions and whenever practicable 
the party made use of snowshoes. It was on one of these 
long trips, in the spring of 1790 that Augustus Porter, west- 
ward bound, first met James Wadsworth, who was also 
going west to occupy property at Geneseo. It was on Wood 
creek, the little stream navigable only by a flood from the 
mill-dam, that the strange meeting took place. Occasionally 
these floods proved insufficient to carry a boat through to 
deep water, and in that case there was nothing to do but to 
wait for a second moving of the waters. As Porter and his 
party were coursing down the stream, they came upon a 
grounded boat the navigators of which were standing in the 
water, ready to start with the coming tide, and one of these 
navigators was Wadsworth. He had been held on a snag for 
three days. L. L. Doty, in his "History of Livingston 
County, New York," says in 'describing the meeting that 
Augustus Porter "took part of Air. Wadsworth's cargo on 
his boat, and so far reduced the burthen that little trouble 
was now experienced in getting it again afloat." Wadsworth 
at this time was 22 years old — fifteen months older than 
Porter, and they journeyed together to Canandaigua. So 
began a friendship that the families have continued through 
several generations. 

In 1794 Porter was one of the witnesses who signed the 
treaty that resulted from the last general council of the 
United States with the Iroquois Confederacy. This was at 
Canandaigua, and a boulder and tablet placed in the public 
square in 1902 commemorate the spot and give his name. 

Porter spent seven summers in the Genesee country as a 
surveyor for various of the original purchasers of this wil- 
derness of Western New York. His employers had bought 
the land from the state of Massachusetts ; and he made 
some of the earliest private surveys. He also acted, he says 
in his journal, as assistant surveyor to Andrew Ellicott, sur- 
veyor-general of the United States, in running the line from 
Pennsylvania to Lake Ontario ; and his business extended to 
the survey of all the lands lying west of Seneca lake, first the 
property of Phelps and Gorham and then of Robert Morris, 


and known later as the "Holland Purchase." He also ex- 
amined, for Mr. Wadsworth, some property in Northern 
New York, north of Schenectady, and made a brief trip by 
water to Virginia. On his own account he purchased con- 
siderable land in Western New York, of which the posses- 
sion of greatest interest was the part ownership of a tract of 
20,000 acres which included the site of much of the present 
city of Rochester. In 1795, too, he purchased a considerable 
tract about six miles northeast of the present village of Avon 
and half a mile west of Honeoye Falls. 

The following winter he apparently spent, as he did so 
many, at home in old Connecticut, and his success as a sur- 
veyor and prosperity in the West seem to have given ten- 
derer thoughts a chance in his young heart. At any rate, on 
March 10, 1796, Augustus Porter was married to Lavinia 
Steele, of Hartford. She was the daughter of Timothy 
Steele, and some two years Porter's junior. She was of a 
good family, her great-great-great-grandfather Steele hav- 
ing come from England in 1636; and Governor Bradford, 
who came in the "Mayflower," was one of her direct ances- 
tors. Porter now had a house in Canandaigua, and thither 
he took his brave young bride by sleigh. 

In 1796 the Connecticut Land Company employed Augus- 
tus Porter as chief surveyor, with a corps of more than fifty 
assistants, to make the first survey ever made in lands situ- 
ated on the south shore of Lake Erie, called the "Western 
Reserve," and recently sold by the state to this copartnership. 
The unbroken wilderness was occupied by hostile Indians, 
but the dauntless pioneer, only 26 years old, accomplished 
his task, and laid out and named, among other towns, that 
which is now the city of Cleveland, choosing the name in 
compliment to the party's managing agent, General Moses 
Cleaveland. The party had left Hartford on the twelfth of 
May, and first reached the Western Reserve, at its north- 
eastern corner on the shore of the lake — at Conneaut — on 
July 4th. They celebrated the double event with salutes and 

Amzi Atwater, one of the assistants on this survey, has 
described his chief. He savs that Augustus Porter "was full 


middling in height, stout built, with a full face and dark, or 
rather brown, complexion. In a woodman's dress, anyone 
would see by his appearance that he was capable and deter- 
mined to go through thick and thin in whatever business he 
was engaged. By the bursting of a gun he had lost the 
entire thumb of his left hand." Porter received for his ser- 
vices as principal surveyor five dollars a day. 

The expedition was naturally not without exciting ad- 
ventures. Four batteaux, purchased at Schenectady for the 
transportation of men and stores, were manned by the sur- 
veyors.* Following the usual water route from Schenectadv 
the party gained Oneida lake, and thence, by way of the 
Oswego river reached Lake Ontario. On the Mohawk a 
man was lost overboard and drowned ; and at Oswego the 
British, who w r ere in possession, declined to let the party 
pass. But Porter was not so easily stopped. Returning a 
short way up the stream, the men waited until night. Then, 
under cover of the darkness, the boats floated down the river 
and passed the fort unperceived. A little later this post, as 
well as that at Niagara, was surrendered under the stipula- 
tion of Jay's treaty, and the party had no difficulty in passing 
the latter fort, nor in returning. By Lake Ontario the party 
reached the Niagara river. This was followed to Queens- 
town, where the long, hard carry commenced, past the lower 
and upper rapids of Niagara and the falls, to Where Chip- 
pewa now is. Through all this distance and over the carries 
on the Mohawk the same batteaux were borne. By the 
upper Niagara, Lake Erie was gained; and in order to as- 
certain the amount of land embraced in the Reserve it was 
necessary to traverse the whole southern shore of the lake, 
from the eastern to the western boundaries of the territory, 
a distance of 120 miles. This Augustus Porter did himself. 

In I797~'98 Porter, whose reputation was now wide, was 
employed by Robert Morris, the Revolution's financier, to lay 
down the boundaries of the lands west of the Genesee river, 
the Indian title to which Morris had lately obtained. This 

* A batteau has been denned by Thoreau as a cross between a boat and a 
birch canoe. It was perhaps 24 feet long and four feet wide, flat bottomed, 
lightly but strongly built, with a flare upward for seven or eight feet at each 


whole country was very much of a wilderness, though 
scarcely to be compared in that respect to the Western Re- 
serve. In getting to Buffalo, where there was a British In- 
dian interpreter, an Indian trader, and two white families, 
the route was along the lake, chiefly on the beach, as no road 
had been built; and in returning an Indian trail was fol- 
lowed as far as where Avon is now situated. In all that dis- 
tance there was only one dwelling house, and the living, of 
course, was very rude for the surveying parties. Bear meat, 
cooked on the end of a pointed stick held over the fire, was 
one of the delicacies that Augustus Porter used to tell of long 

Doubtless he tried to be in Canandaigua as much as pos- 
sible, where his home, wife, and child were; but work still 
kept him much away, for in addition to the surveying he 
began now the development of his own landed property. 
The child, Augustus S., had been born January 18, 1798. In 
the winter of 1799, Augustus Porter went to New England 
for a few weeks, and on his return with his sister Eunice in 
March, he found his wife ''languishing and sick on her 
death-bed." She died four days after his return, though she 
had been ill less than a week when he reached her. He at 
once, with his sister and the little boy, took the journey back 
to Salisbury and Hartford. Some eighteen months before 
that his mother had died. In May, Augustus Porter re- 
turned again to the West accompanied once more by his 
sister, who was a widow, and who stayed for a year and a 
half, caring for his house. 

In 1800 Augustus Porter, in the development of his own 
property, ploughed and sowed with wheat forty acres of the 
tract which he had purchased some years before near Hone- 
oye Falls. This, it is recorded, then gave conclusive evi- 
dence of having been the site of a large Indian village, em- 
bracing the burying ground within its limits. So numerous 
were the graves that it was necessary to level the earth with 
the spade before teams could pass over it, and nearly 1,000 
pounds weight of hatchets, bits of brass kettles, gun barrels, 
locks, leads, etc., were found. 

In January, 1801, Augustus Porter went to Blooming 

- ^rV^^fM^SJgjnr- • 


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--. i ■ - 'i.*nai*Mi«-»i'« 



Wire or Judge Augustus Porter. 
Oil Portrait in the Posse ssion of her Grand-oaughtei 

Irs, Jane H. Robinsoi 


Grove in Orange county, and there, on the 24th of the 
month, he married Jane Howell whose brother* had been 
for six years a resident of Canandaigua. Jane was the only 
daughter of Hezekiah Howell, and her family too was old 
and distinguished. Her great-great-grandfather, Edward 
Howell, had come to Boston from England in 1639, the same 
year, curiously enough, in which John Porter — the first of 
the Porter emigrants — came over. He was the leader of the 
new settlement of Southampton, Long Island, was a magis- 
trate, and served until his death as a member of the colonial 
legislature at Hartford. The old stone manor house of the 
Howell family, in Marsh Gibbon, Buckinghamshire, still 
stands; and is known to have been occupied in 1536, by 
Howells that preceded Jane by six generations. 

Augustus Porter took his bride to Canandaigua, to a 
house which he had built the year before, situated opposite 
to the Academy. And from the time she joined him he took 
a more active part in public affairs and less, it seems, in sur- 
veying. For the lot on which the house stood Porter paid, 
in 1799, $1000. If uniform with the other Phelps and 
Gorham lots in Canandaigua, it contained about 40 acres, 
fronting 380 feet on Main street and extending seven-eighths 
of a mile back, to the corporation line. 

On October 24, 1801, Jane Porter bore to Augustus a 
son, who was named Albert Howell, his Christian name hav- 
ing been chosen in honor of Albert Gallatin. In the next 
year Porter was awarded the contract for carrying the mails 
from Utica to Fort Niagara. It was a stage line now, and 
the route was the usual one to Buffalo, and thence down the 
river, by the old portage road, to the fort. In the fall of that 
year he was elected to the state legislature from the counties 
of Ontario and Genesee, serving as one of the three assem- 
blymen for all that region in the session of 1803. Thus the 
year 1802 was notable to Augustus Porter as marking his 

* Judge Howell, who three years before had married Sally Chapin, youngest 
daughter of General Israel Chapin. In 1799 he had built the house later known 
as the Howell Homestead. On the opening of Howell street it was moved to 
Dungan street, where it still stood a hundred years later, in fragments, forming 
two houses. It had a fine drawing room, and in its large kitchen tradition says 
"more matches were made than in any other five houses in town." 


first appearance in the transportation business, and his first 
election to public office. 

There was probably little feeling of loneliness for these 
pioneers in Canandaigua, for in addition to his own family, 
and the family of his brother-in-law, and the wide acquaint- 
ance that his eminence as a surveyor had gained for him, 
Augustus Porter had with him also his own brother, Peter 
Buell Porter, who had come to Canandaigua in 1795, and 
had settled there in the practice of law. 

Peter B. Porter, the junior of Augustus by fourteen 
years, had been graduated from Yale in 1791, and had then 
gained his professional education with Judge Reeves, of 
Litchfield, Conn., a very famous advocate. Judge Reeves, 
by the way, was a brother-in-law of Aaron Burr. The build- 
ing in which he held his renowned law school still stands in 
Litchfield, and the youthful autographs of Calhoun, Pier- 
pont, and others are said to be visible cut in its small square 
panes. The young pioneer-barrister, whose name was soon 
to become so famous in the annals of his country, took at 
once a high position in the new settlement. The year of his 
arrival he was counsel at Canandaigua in the first trial in a 
court of record in Western New York. Two years later he 
was appointed clerk of Ontario county, and in 180 1 made 
Augustus Porter his deputy; in 1802 he served in the legis- 
lature as an assemblyman for the counties of Ontario and 
Steuben, and retired at the close of the session only that his 
brother might be elected to succeed him, as has been alreadv 

In Peter B. Porter's appearance in the first jury trial held 
west of Herkimer county there were coincidences which 
came to be of unusual family interest. He had been admitted 
to practice in the courts of Ontario county at the same time 
with Nathaniel W. Howell, afterwards judge, who was his 
sister-in-law's brother. This first trial by jury, which was on 
an indictment for stealing a cowbell, took place just after 
their admission, and the very year that Peter B. Porter ar- 
rived. The prosecution was managed by Nathaniel \V. 
Howell and the defense by Peter B. Porter and Vincent 
Matthews, the latter alreadv a distant cousin, and destined 


to be yet more closely connected as the father-in-law of on-» 
of the nephews of the former! In 1804 Peter B. Porter was 
connected with another interesting case, when he was asso- 
ciated with Red Jacket, the Indian orator, in defense of an 
Indian charged with the murder of a white man near Buffalo. 

On May 7, 1806, another son was born to Augustus 
Porter, and this child was named Peter Buell, for the young 
lawyer. Early in June of the same year the family removed 
to Niagara Falls. After the fashion of those days Porter, 
though well off, was his own teamster, coming to his new 
home with whip and reins in hand. The weather was favor- 
able, but four or five days were needed for the journey, and 
it must have been a rough one for a mother with a month old 
child. The house at Canandaigua was sold to John Greig, 
who, having studied law in Judge Howell's office, had en- 
tered into partnership with him in 1804. Just thirty years 
afterwards, the princely "Greig Hall" having been com- 
pleted, the Porter residence was donated to the Episcopal 
church for a parsonage and was removed to Gibson street 
where, very little modernized, it was still standing in 1896, 
good it was thought for another century. The church had 
sold it to Edward G. Tyler, the retired principal' of Ontario 
Female Seminary and his family still owned it. Lafayette 
was a guest at the house in 1825. 

With the trip to Niagara closes definitely the first phase 
in the already changing life of Augustus Porter. He is no 
more the pioneer-surveyor; but becomes, for a time, the 
business man. 

III. " The Business Man. 

Although for some years Augustus Porter had been 
settled quietly in Canandaigua, early busied in the manage- 
ment of the Phelps estates and later with the care of his own 
considerable landed interests, it is his departure from that 
village which marks most definitely the abandonment of the 
old professional, roving life of the surveyor. Dangers had 
been bravely faced, hardships triumphantly overcome, and 
the surveyor's chain, with which he had so girdled and 


shackled the wilderness, had brought to him special promi- 
nence, fortune, and fame. And now the chief settlement of 
the Western frontier, the home of eight years, the starting 
point and the terminus of so many expeditions, was aban- 
doned, and a new life far from kindred and friends was 
taken up, in this early summer of 1806 : The life of an ener- 
getic man of business, in the heart of a new wilderness. 

Behind this trip to Niagara and the change of residence, 
lay commercial enterprise of unusual boldness and foresight. 
The two brothers, Augustus and Peter, had become con- 
vinced that a great industrial future lay before the region 
surrounding Niagara and they had combined to purchase, 
with Benjamin Barton and Joseph Annin, from the state of 
New York, a large tract of land, with the waterpower, adja- 
cent to and above the falls of the river. 

The story of the purchase, as it comes to us now, is rather 
perplexing. It seems that in 1803 the state had employed 
Annin, who was Barton's uncle, to survey a mile strip along 
the Niagara river from Fort Niagara to Black Rock, cutting 
the whole into farm lots, except the already surveyed Sted- 
man farm and considerable plots at the termini. This "mile 
strip" was state land to which the Indian right, as far north 
as the Stedman farm, had been extinguished by a deed from 
the Senecas dated August 20, 1802. It had never been in- 
cluded in the lands of the Holland Company and is interest- 
ing as the only land that the state received in the settlement 
of the conflicting claims of Massachusetts in 1786. 

When the land had been surveyed by Annin, it was 
offered for sale by the land commissioners in February, 
1805, at their office in Albany at public auction ; and at the 
same time announcement was made that the state would 
lease, for the smallest number of years, the landing places at 
the ferry (Black Rock) and Lewiston (these involving 
transportation facilities), and the three undivided plots at 
the farm and termini. That the Porters, Barton, and Annin 
attended this sale, pooled their interests, took the lease, and 
purchased four surveyed lots which gave them possession of 
the land immediately about and above the falls, all authori- 
ties agree. The lots were numbered 41, 42, 43, 44; and 


their acreage is given, respectively, as 182, 19, 100, 100. 
The smallest lot, 42, was that in the corner of the tract, bor- 
dering the rapids and extending to the brink of the falls. 
Lot 41 was back from the river and was long and narrow. 
Lot 44 extended to the Stedman farm. Now this public sale 
took place in 1805 ; but as the patents, still owned in the 
family, bear various later dates, the supposition is that the 
patents were not at once demanded, perhaps because the 
terms of the sale permitted deferred payments, though none 
of the accounts suggest this. In the Guide to Niagara writ- 
ten by George W. Holley, who is considered an authority on 
the history of this region, it is expressly stated that the lands 
were thus purchased "in 1806," which is manifestly wrong. 
Albert H. Porter, who would be expected to know, says 
with some vagueness in a pamphlet history of Niagara, "In 
the year 1805 the state of New York first offered the lands 
along the Niagara river for sale, and Augustus and Peter B. 
Porter, and Benjamin Barton, and Joseph Annin, jointly, 
purchased largely of the lands at Lewiston, Niagara Falls, 
Black Rock, and elsewhere along the river." Further on he 
adds that Augustus Porter "built a saw mill and black- 
smith's shop on the joint property" "early in 1805." Maps 
and original patents now in the possession of Peter A. 
Porter, however, give these definite dates: Lot 41, Porter 
and Barton, December 8, 1809; lots 42, 43, Porter, Augus- 
tus, and Barton, Benjamin, June 27, 18 14. The probable ex- 
planation is that the Porters, Barton, and Annin, attending 
the sale in 1805, contracted for the purchase of the four lots, 
and thereby became their virtual, though not actual, owners ; 
that they at once complied with the terms of the sale for 44, 
and began improvements upon it, but that the other lots 
were acquired by deferred payments. Or, it is possible, of 
course, that the purchasers may have made at once full pay- 
ment for all the land, but may not have demanded the 
patents, considering the fulfilled contracts, the land war- 
rants and receipts for the payments, as good as the patents 
themselves. The latter papers would not have been needed 
until the owners wished to sell, mortgage, or lease. 

At any rate a blacksmith shop and sawmill were built in 


1805, and the following year Augustus Porter moved his 
family to Niagara Falls. From the Genesee river as far west 
as Batavia the travelers found the country considerably 
opened, but from that point the settlements were very sparce. 
There were five or six families at Lewiston, and a couple at 
Schlosser's landing, which is about two miles above the Ni- 
agara cataract, but no one at the falls. Porter took his 
family to the old Stedman house, which stood a short dis- 
tance down the river from Schlosser's, and that served as 
their home until the autumn of 1808. The region when they 
arrived was still so wild that bears were common in the 
forests and wolves too numerous for several years to make 
it possible to keep sheep. At night the howling of the 
wolves around the house was a familiar sound. Wild geese 
and duck abounded on the river, eagles nested above the 
falls, the land was infested with rattlesnakes, and deer were 
often seen on Goat Island. Of the erections early made by 
the French and English and long since abandoned, the Sted- 
man house into which the Porters moved, was alone un- 
ruined. It had served at one time as the mess house of the 
little English fort. 

With the lands that Augustus Porter and his associates 
bought from the state they took also the lease that was 
offered. It gave them the exclusive right of transporting 
property across the portage; but the conditions were that 
they should build warehouses, provide teams, meet every de- 
mand for transportation at reasonable rates, and ' that all 
improvements at the end of thirteen years should revert to 
the state. In this transportation business Augustus Porter 
at once engaged. Benjamin Barton settled at Lewiston, and 
under the management of the firm Porter, Barton & Co., the 
carrying business soon assumed large proportions. The firm 
built and retained the ownership of vessels on Lakes Erie 
and Ontario, supplied the military posts along the Great 
Lakes, as far as Mackinaw, Chicago, and Fort Wayne, and 
with a monopoly of the transportation by this favorite route 
handled nearly all the business of the American fur com- 
panies and the large Indian traders. Among their most 
regular clients in this way was the original John Jacob Astor, 


dozens of whose business letters to them are still in existence. 
The firm was in friendly association with Matthew McXair 
of Oswego and Jonathan Walton & Co. of Schenectady and 
is said by Turner and other authorities to have been "the first 
regular and connected line of forwarders that ever did busi- 
ness from tidewater to Lake Erie on the American side of the 
Niagara river." 

The contract for supplying the frontier posts had been 
entered into with the United States Government by Augustus 
Porter and Messrs. Norton and Phelps during the last years 
of Porter's residence in Canandaigua. The execution of the 
contract was continued during the war of 1812, Porter rather 
than the firm having the immediate interest, since the con- 
tract had passed into his hands alone in 1810. The original 
is now in the possession of Peter A. Porter. It bears the 
date of Dec. 30, 1800, and is made out as between Augustus 
Porter and William Eustis (Secretary of War) "for and on 
behalf of the United States of America." The articles of 
agreement for the period from June 1, 18 12, to May 31, 
1813, provide the following prices: Rations to be issued at 
Niagara and its dependencies, 14 cents; at Detroit and its 
dependencies, 15 cents ; at Fort Wayne, 15 cents ; at Michili- 
mackinack, 16 cents, 5 mills; at Chicago, 18 cents, 5 mills; 
"at all other places in the state of Ohio and Indiana Territory, 
north of 41 degree of latitude, and in the territory of Michi- 
gan," 14 cents. For rations issued to troops on the march in 
these territories, the price would, however, be augmented as 
the Secretary of War saw fit. "When the price of the ration 
is 14 cents, the component parts thereof shall be : For meat, 
5 cents ; bread and flour, 5 cents ; liquor, 3 cents ; small 
parts, 1 cent." 

The story of the operations of the first Porter, Barton & 
Co., is full of interest. It brings out at once the crude condi- 
tions of the pioneer days, and is that which must at this time 
most have engaged the thoughts of Augustus Porter. 
Briefly the extent of the firm's operations and its commer- 
cial importance have been already stated. Its monopoly was 
bought of the state at auction, and though the firm was much 
talked of and — like all monopolies — sometimes abused, it has 


been said of it that it "never wanted in efficiency or in 
prompt and honorable dealings." Goods in transit to the 
West were taken by team, through Porter, Barton & Co.'s 
connections, from Albany to Schenectady; thence by boats 
to Oswego Falls ; around those falls by a portage ; thence 
by boats to vesels at Oswego, and in them to Lewiston. 
Later on, when the firm owned most of the boats on Lake 
Ontario, the carrying trade even from Oswego was in its 
own hands. At Lewiston the goods were unloaded from the 
boats by Porter, Barton & Co. and taken by team over the 
Portage road to Schlosser. This was the road built by 
William Stedman in 1763 for the English troops. Then, as 
now, it first zig-zagged up the mountain ridge, where the 
heaviest goods were raised or lowered in a sliding car moved 
on an inclined plane by a windlass. This car, by the way, 
is said to have been the first adaptation of the crude prin- 
ciple of a railroad in the United States, for it ran over 
wooden rails on broad runners. But the device considerably 
antedated Porter, Barton & Co.'s use of it, for even before 
the Revolution the English had employed it, and Indians had 
been often hired to operate the windlass. From the top of 
the ridge the road followed the river to the site of the pres- 
ent railroad bridges, thence diverging to meet the river 
again near the Stedman house, well above the Falls. 

The teams on the portage were generally a yoke of oxen, 
of which the company owned three. There was originally 
one trip each day, and the usual load from Lewiston to 
Schlosser was twelve barrels of salt, or its equivalent. As 
business increased the company employed all teamsters who 
offered, and these frequently used horses which would draw 
seven barrels when the road was good. At Schlosser the 
firm built a warehouse, as it had done at Lewiston. The 
freight was put into large Durham boats at Schlosser, and 
thence was carried up the river to Black Rock. The method 
of propelling the boats — which were open — was the fa- 
miliar but tedious one of poling in going up the river. Men 
on the two sides of the boat walked with poles to their 
shoulders from bow to stern, repeating the process all the 
long way. Coming down the stream the current propelled 


and the boats were guided by oars. The company owned 
four or five of these vessels, and each could carry from 125 
to 150 barrels of salt. At Black Rock the company built 
another warehouse, probably in 181 5, near the foot of what 
is now called Breckenridge street. But in the earlier days 
piers were sunk at Bird island — which has now been taken 
away, but which lay just above the rapids — and on them a 
third large warehouse was erected. It was this which was 
used before the war of 1812. But when the company first 
commenced its business, as a preliminary step it sank, in 
1807, a pier in the bay or eddy below Bird island and con- 
structed a warehouse on the island. This is of interest be- 
cause it was the first step toward harbor improvements in 
either Buffalo or Black Rock, and was taken, it should be 
noted, by a private corporation. 

In getting the boats up the Black Rock rapids it is re- 
corded that there were three methods : The first, and prob- 
ably the rarest, was by natural wind ; the second was by the 
"ash breeze," which meant propulsion by oars ; and the 
third was the "horn breeze," which was a team of from six 
to twelve yoke of oxen, which drew the boat up by a hawser 
attached to its mast. That there was no lack of business is 
shown by the fact that during the navigable season from 
15,000 to 18,000 barrels of salt were transported, besides 
other merchandise, and the military stores for the posts. 
The Black Rock was the great salt exchange — a sort of com- 
mercial center in the later days when there were merchants 
enough to make a center — and even in early times traders 
were there from Pittsburg, and the captains and boatmen of 
vessels which carried the salt West. Porter, Barton & Co.'s 
charges for transportation were: Salt, Lewiston to Black 
Rock, 7s. per barrel ; Schlosser to Black Rock, 3s. Freight, 
Lewiston to Black Rock, 6s. per cwt. up. 

It is noted that one boat was lost, of 20 tons, loaded with 
salt. It got into the strong current between Grand and Navy 
islands, on its way up stream, and was carried over the falls. 
Only one man was saved, and he escaped by getting on to 
Goat island. Another vessel's figurehead, representing 


General Peter B. Porter, is now in the rooms of the Buffalo 
Historical society. 

A year after Augustus Porter had settled at Niagara, in 
1807 therefore, the firm erected a grist mill at the Falls with 
two runs of stones. It was the first to be established there 
and in order to raise its frame all the able-bodied citizens of 
the neighborhood were insufficient, so that a company of 
forty soldiers had to be brought from Fort Niagara. It 
proved an expensive arrangement, however, for it is re- 
corded that before they left, the soldiers stripped the garden 
of its fruit — and the fru;t was particularly abundant and 

In 1808, on March 11, the county was organized (carved 
out of Genesee), and called Niagara. It embraced what is 
now Erie county and the first courts were held in Landon's 
tavern in Buffalo. Fifteen days after the organization of the 
county, Augustus Porter was appointed the first judge. 
Hence arose the prefix by which his contemporaries always 
called him thereafter, and by which he is described by his- 
torians, public and private. It was a title which suited well 
his rather reserved and, in the old style, dignified manner; 
and accorded with the awe and respect with which his neigh- 
bors always regarded him. The appointment was made 
by the Governor, and Porter's associates were: Erastus 
Granger and Samuel Tupper of Buffalo ; Joseph Brooks of 
Cattaraugus, and Zathe Cushing of Chautauqua. 

In the same year, 1808, Judge Porter erected a dwelling 
of his own, on the site of the present homestead, which is 
nearer the falls than was the Stedman house, and thither re- 
moved his family. This house, though only one-half the 
width of the present structure, was the most splendid in this 
Western region. It was built of brick, which in itself was 
a distinction. The bricks were made on the spot. The cut 
stone for the window sills and the marble for the fire-places 
was brought all the way from Albany on sleighs, and the 
glass for the windows came from Pittsburg. The location, 
too, was superb, chosen not for a generation, but forever. 
The garden behind the house sloped down to the famous 
rapids. From the windows of the structure one might see 


them, or one might look up the river to where it stretched 
smooth and broad as a lake, or down to where the spray 
cloud hung above the falls ; while through closed doors and 
windows the roar of the cataract came, like lulling music. 
In the heart of the wilderness the mighty river made a clear- 
ing; the stillness was filled as though with the voice of 
God ; and over the opposite trees, that dipped uncut branches 
to the rushing waters, the sun set in rare radiance and glory. 
Never did pioneer find grander spot than this in which to 
build his habitation. 

A road corresponding to the present street ran by the 
house. Opposite an orchard of small fruit was planted, and 
just above an apple orchard. A portion of the latter is still 
standing, the gnarled old trees having lived through the 
war of 1812 and later through the advance, which is often 
more destructive than an enemy's to them, in property 
values. Over what was to become the village of Niagara 
Falls the large forest trees were pretty well cut down before 
18 12, but young trees and undergrowth, particularly near 
the river, grew very thick and close, quite down to the falls. 
On the Canadian side there was a great cedar swamp, and 
cedars grew below the falls on the steep banks of the river. 
All along up the river, on both sides of the road, Augustus 
Porter had, or came to have, farming interests as the land 
was cleared. It was necessary of course to raise everything 
required for home consumption, and he had not only his own 
family for which to provide, but a very large force of men 
engaged in the various works in which he and the firm had 
an interest. It was necessary, too, as far as possible, to raise 
supplies for the posts which he was under contract to care 

In 1805 or 1806 Augustus Porter had succeeded in get- 
ting upon Goat Island. The access was from the river above, 
through the still water between the divided currents. There 
were old dates upon the trees then, the oldest as early as 
1769, and at the upper end there was a clearing of three or 
four acres that had been made by Captain Stedman, the 
English pioneer, as a pasture for goats. This gave the island 
its name, which the treaty of Ghent vainly, but more prettily, 


remade Iris. In 1.811 Augustus Porter, with his brother 
Peter, who in the previous year had become a resident of 
Black Rock, made an attempt to buy Goat Island from the 
State; but the attempt was unsuccessful, the legislature de- 
clining at that time to give its consent. The quaint petition 
which Augustus Porter sent to the legislature is as follows: / 

To the Honorable the Legislature of the State of N. Y. in 
Senate and Assembly Convening: 

The petition of the subscriber humbly showeth — That 
your petitioner is an inhabitant of the town of Cambria in 
the county of Niagara. That his place of residence is sur- 
rounded by a large body of unsettled lands, which are likely 
to remain so for some time, which afford a shelter for wolves 
and other wild animals owing to which the raising of sheep 
is rendered extremely difficult. That in the Niagara river 
directly opposite to the residence of your petitioner there is 
a small island owned by the people of the State, called Goat 
Island, containing as your petitioner believes, about 100 
acres, where sheep might be with great safety kept. Your 
petitioner therefore prays that your honorable body will pass 
a law authorizing the commissioners of the land office to sell 
to your petitioner this said island at a fair price to be ascer- 
tained by apprisal, or in such other way as your honorable 
body in your wisdom may deem proper. And your peti- 
tioner as in, duty bound will ever pray. 

Augustus Porter. 

February 23, 181 1. 

The report of the surveyor general on this petition was 
made in the following words : 

The surveyor general on the petition respectively re- 
ports : 

That the petitioner is settled on the shore of the Niagara 
river opposite to an island of about 100 acres called Goat 
Island, which he is desirous of obtaining for the purpose of 
keeping sheep free from wolves and other wild animals, 
which on account of the country it is difficult to do. This 
island is about seven chains from the east shore with its 
lower end butted on the precipice, over which the Niagara 


river falls at the great cataract. On account of the great 
velocity of the current which descends to the island and 
sweeps its sides the passage to and from it is difficult and 
considered so dangerous that few have attempted it. The 
petitioner, however, thinks that by means of projections 
from the shore he can lessen the difficulty and danger of the 
passage, and is willing for the privilege he prays for, to pay 
the State a reasonable addition to what he appraised as its 
fair value. 

From the circumstances stated it must be evident that 
the value of the island must very materially depend on its 
being an appendage to the estate on the shore directly oppo- 
site to it. 

Should the legislature judge proper to authorize a grant 
of it to the petitioner it ought to be with the proviso that the 
Indian title to it be first extinguished. 

Respectfully submitted. 

Simeon De Witt, 
Surveyor General. 

22 February, 1811. 

The legislature, however, declined to authorize the sale, 
on the ground that the island would be soon needed either 
for a state prison or a state arsenal. But Judge Porter still 
raised sheep and did not relinquish his hope of securing it. 

About the time that Judge Porter built his house he con- 
structed a large rope-walk, to manufacture rigging for the 
British and American vessels on the lakes. The hemp for 
this purpose was raised by the Wadsworths on the flats of 
the Genesee river. Other improvements soon followed, as a 
tannery, a carding and cloth dressing establishment, several 
shops, a comfortable log tavern (on the site of the present 
International hotel), and a number of dwelling houses. But 
the country was not very healthy, and the improvements 
came slowly. 

De Witt Clinton, making a trip through Western New 
York in 1810, notes in his journal that ''the Messrs. Porter 
bought 1000 acres on the Ridge Road, a few miles from 
Lewiston, for 12 shillings an acre, from the Holland Land 
Company, for that purpose [hemp land] and are now drain- 


ing it with great facility." He speaks elsewhere of spending 
three nights at Judge Porter's, and says, "I felt the agitation 
of the falls in slightly shaking Judge Porters house, after I 
had retired to bed." Of the village, "one quarter of a mile 
above the falls and three quarters of a mile from Fort Schlos- 
ser," he remarks : "It was established by Porter, Barton & 
Co., and is the best place in the world for hydraulic works. 
Here is a carding machine, a grist mill, a rope walk, a bark 
mill, a tannery, a post office, tavern and a few houses. An 
acre lot sells for $50. The rope walk is six fathoms long ; 
is the only establishment of the kind in the western country, 
and already supplies all the lake navigation." He says that 
the hemp cost $380 a ton and that the tar was brought from 
New York. Clinton went from Lewiston to Fort Niagara, 
to quote him again, on "the brig Ontario, of 90 tons, belong- 
ing to Porter, Barton & Co." it being on its way to Oswego. 
"This is a handsome vessel, cost $5,000, can carry 420 barrels 
of salt, and is navigated by a captain and seven men." 

The family life passed quietly before the war, with no 
special incident — so far as is now remembered — to mark the 
passage of the busy years except the birth, September 7, 
1810, of a daughter, Lavinia E., the first girl child to be born 
to Augustus Porter. The older boys, Augustus and latterly 
Albert, went to school at Lewiston in the early days, making 
the seven-mile journey each way, by the Portage road, on 
horseback through the woods. 

The Indians roamed freely about the country, but Porter, 
through fearlessness of them, had gained their respect, and 
it was at this time that they began the custom of coming 
frequently to his house as guests, sometimes spending the 
nights as well as parts of the days. Often they came to 
demand "fire water," the curse of the Indian race, but they 
knew that they could have it only on the condition, clever 
and humorously stern, that they first drink a certain meas- 
ured and wondrous quantity of cold water — after which 
they might have all the whisky that they wanted! Among 
the Indians who thus visited the family, one of the most 
cordially welcomed, and perhaps the most frequent in late 
years, was the great Seneca chief and orator, Red Jacket. 


Corn Planter and Farmer's Brother were other visitors and 
they all had a name for Judge Porter which meant "The 
Chain Bearer," given perhaps when he surveyed the "Gore" 
between the Seneca reservation and Lake Erie ; for on that 
trip Judge Porter was accompanied by Red Jacket and 
Scaugh-juh-quatty, the chiefs whom the Senecas had ap- 
pointed to show the line. 

The writer recalls a favorite story of his grandfather, 
Albert H. Porter, which well illustrates the freedom with 
which the Indians walked about Judge Porter's house. The 
youthful Albert (he could have been hardly more than six 
or seven years old at the time) came home from school very 
hungry, and, childlike, began to call through the house for 
his mother. Getting no response he started through the 
passage which led from the library to the kitchen, and in 
that dark place he came suddenly against a tall Indian. The 
fright appeased his wants more effectually than bread and 
butter could have done and he beat a precipitate retreat 
which left the Indian in possession of the field. 

In 1808 a log school was built at Niagara, and this 
marked the beginning of the common school system there. 
Of its rude structure and furniture, and the quaint, interest- 
ing old schoolmaster — a disappointed bachelor who was 
wont absentmindedly to soliloquize aloud in school about his 
early love — Albert H. Porter has given a description in his 
pamphlet on Niagara Falls in the seventy years from 1805 
to 1875. There also we learn how slight were the religious 
privileges of the family. "Probably not a half-dozen public 
religious services were ever held here previous to the close 
of the war in 18 15," and these were conducted by earnest, 
enterprising, but uncultivated Methodist pioneers, who in 
post-revolutionary times tried to keep step with the west- 
ward march of settlement with the same zeal that the early 
French Jesuits had shown for the Indians. 

On September 1, 1812, a fourth son was born, and he 
was named Nathaniel Howell, for his uncle, the Judge, at 
Canandaigua. The child lived only one year, dying on the 
12th of September, 1813. 


IV. In the War of 1812. 

We come now to the war: Previous to 18 12 itself few 
warnings probably reached the wilderness around Niagara 
of the great conflict that was so seriously to interrupt settle- 
ment and progress, and subject the people to sacrifices and 
suffering. Yet Augustus Porter must have been better 
posted than most of his neighbors, for his brother Peter, 
who had been elected to congress in 18 10, filled the important 
post of chairman of the house committee on foreign rela- 
tions, and it was he who, in the latter part of November, 
181 1, reported the resolutions authorizing immediate and 
active preparations for war which the congress adopted, 
after his great and stirring speech of December nth. 

In June, 18 12, when the declaration of war between the 
United States and Great Britain was definitely made, most 
of the inhabitants on the frontier moved to the interior. But 
when nothing happened they gradually returned, and re- 
mained until December, 1813, when the dreadful invasion 
took place. During the twelve or thirteen months of anxiety 
in the little town, Judge Porter had to be much away from 
home, traveling from post to post on the Great Lakes, buying 
and delivering provisions, probably the main dependence on 
the frontier of the national commissary department. His 
wife and children remained at Niagara. A few trusty ser- 
vants were with them, but Mrs. Porter was practically the 
general of the village. In the cellar of the house, as it was 
the only brick structure in the town, were stored the village 
guns. The transportation business had been suspended, 
many of the strong men had enlisted and marched away, 
and the settlement lay at the mercy of the Indians, fright- 
ened and still, ready to yield to panic at any moment. This 
Judge Porter well knew ; and realizing the unique position 
which he and his family held in the town, he wrote to his 
wife that she must stay there as long as possible, feeling sure 
that her presence would allay the fear. When it is unsafe 
for you to stay longer, he added, I shall know and send you 
word. And so she, with the boys and the baby girl, stayed 
on. Once there came a report at night that the Indians were 


coming, and the men flocked to her for advice and arms. 
She did not falter, did not doubt the news nor question her 
husband's care. In the stillness of the night she rose, the 
calmest woman in the village, and passed out the guns to the 
men, from the cellar window, with a word of cheer for each. 
It proved a false alarm, but the incident shows what was the 
feeling in the settlement and the character of the woman. 

At last, after weeks of this anxiety, and when the snows 
of December were deep, the dread message from Judge 
Porter came: It is unsafe to stay longer. You must make 
haste. Leave very quietly and go to your brother in Canan- 
daigua. As I get opportunity I will send money to you 
there. She confided the secret to only one person, a trusty 
servant ; knowing that a dropped hint would strike the set- 
tlement with panic and all would be lost. As though she 
were going for a drive, she ordered that the sleigh be 
brought to the door. At evening she and her children got 
into it; and with her servant's help she was able to stow 
away in it a few precious things, such as a carpet, brass and- 
irons, silver and linen. So, in the night and in winter, with 
the enemy near, she started for Canandaigua. But before she 
left she took the bungs out of the whisky barrels in the cellar, 
that the Indians should not make themselves mad by drink 
for their cruel work on the morrow. Of that ride to Canan- 
daigua we know no more, except that the brave woman and 
her charges arrived in safety and went to the home of her 
brother, Judge Howell. There they stayed for four years, 
the boys at school in the academy, now old and famous ; far 
and safe from the horrors of war, but full of such war feel- 
ing as boys would be whose home the enemy had burned, 
whose father was at the front, and whose uncle was leading 
troops with a skill and intrepidity that caused Congress to 
offer to him the commandership-in-general of the national 
forces, and later publicly to express to him the country's 
gratitude and order that a medal be struck in his honor; 
while the city of Xew York presented to him its freedom in 
a gold box, and the state of Xew York voted to him a sword. 

When the family returned to Niagara peace had been 
declared, but the suddenness with which, after their flight, 

V. The Landed Proprietor. 

Though Judge Porter was busy with the commissary de- 
partment throughout the war, his interest in his Niagara pos- 


the little town had been attacked showed that the warning 
had come none too soon. Mrs. Porter had left two men in 
the house. On the morning after she had gone they saw 
from the windows the Indians approaching. The watchers 
at once took flight, and the last glimpse which family story ^^_-— - 
gives of them is that they were seen running up the river 
bank with Indians brandishing tomahawks in full chase. 
The rest of the hostile party, made up of both British and 
Indians, broke into the Porter house, sacked it of the little 
the members wanted, heaped the beds and other furniture 
on the kitchen floor, and then set fire to the mansion. Ex- 
cept for the foundations it was entirely destroyed, and with 
it went many valuable charts and calculations based on the 
original surveys which the great pioneer had made in New 
York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. Such maps and manu- 
scripts as escaped the flames, together with the instruments 
used in the original surveys, are now preserved in cases by 
the Buffalo Historical Society, to which Judge Porter's sons 
presented them after his decease. Among the things which 
the Indians stole and carried away was a coffee urn of 
lacquer, mounted with silver. Some years later it was 
found in Canada, little the worse for having been buried for 
a time, and was restored to Judge and Mrs. Porter. 

The settlement of Niagara and the frontier suffered as 
did the Porter mansion. There was no resistance worthy 
of the name. Buildings and property of every description 
were destroyed ; many unresisting persons were killed ; and 
others, escaping only with their lives, were reduced to ex- 
treme want and suffering. Nothing was saved except two 
or three small dwellings and the log tavern. These had been 
set on fire with the others, but persons in the vicinity extin- 
guished the flames by hand after the departure of .the enemy. 
No buildings were re-erected at Niagara until after the close 
of the war, in 1815. 



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Carried Off from Judge Porters House when it was Burned by the Enemy, 1813; Found 

Years Afterward in Canada, Restored to Judge Porter, and now Preserved 

by his Descendants. It is of Silver. Black Lacquer 

Finish, About Two Feet High. 

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sessions was still vast, and his confidence in the success of 
the American arms, with the final restoration of peace on 
the frontier, seems never to have faltered. In 1814, a year 
before the war's close, he was able to steal a clever march on 
the state of New York by which he gained, in spite of the 
legislature's reluctance, the desired possession of Goat 
Island. There was a lawyer of considerable prominence 
named Samuel Sherwood, to whom the state had given, in 
consideration of a failure of title to lands he had purchased 
of it, an instrument called a "float." This allowed the bearer 
to locate 200 acres on any of the unsold or unappropriated 
lands of the commonwealth. Peter B. and Augustus Porter 
bought the instrument of Sherwood and chose Goat Island 
and the small islands adjacent to it, some 70 acres in all, as a 
part of the tract. In 18 16 they received their patent or deed, 
dated November 16, 1816. It was made out to Augustus; 
but he at once deeded a half interest in the island group to 
his brother. 

It was only a few weeks before this, on September 12, 
181 5, that the Senecas had ceded the island to the state of 
New York; and it was only in October that Parkhurst 
Whitney surveyed it. Thus was caused the considerable 
delay, for until the Indian right of occupancy had been thus 
extinguished the state could not give good title. By this 
cession the Indians reserved the right of "hunting, fishing, 
and fowling in and upon the waters of the Niagara river, 
and of encamping on the said islands for that purpose ;" and 
this right, we believe, still exists. The compensation which 
the State had to pay to the Senecas for their cession of the 
islands in the river was $1000 in cash, and $1500 a year in 

After the close of the war, in 181 5, Judge Porter brought 
his family back to Niagara Falls ; and the Government reim- 
bursed him for the burning of his house inasmuch as he had 
permitted its use as an arsenal. While the old homestead 
was being rebuilt on a scale twice as large as before, and in 
the proportions that it now has, the family occupied a small 
dwelling opposite to the present International hotel. Most 
of the other settlers had returned and though the year 18 16 


was a very unfavorable one, with money scarce and frosts 
in every month killing the crops, the little settlement yet had 
quite a bustling character. Mills and dwellings were re- 
built, the old tavern was improved and repaired so that it 
afforded a comfortable resort for travelers, and, greatest 
triumph of all, Samuel De Veaux built a store. 

It may be said here, by the way, that the village during 
all this early period was variously called. The petition of 
Augustus Porter for the purchase of Goat Island in 1811 
speaks of him as a resident of Cambria* ; letters of 18 16 ad- 
dressed to "Judge Porter, Manchester," are still in the fam- 
ily's possession, and by the name of Manchester the town 
was widely known for a time — certainly as early as 18 13, 
and certainly as late as 1828, for the village is marked "Man- 
chester" on a map of that date. But the old Indian Niagara 
was never quite abandoned ; and as it triumphed in the end, 
as in the beginning, it is here used continuously to avoid 
confusion. At some early period, probably when it suited 
his own convenience, for no doubt at first nine-tenths of the 
mail was his own, Augustus Porter became postmaster at 
Niagara. He was the first postmaster in the counties of 
Niagara and Erie, which is a distinction, and he served the 
village in this way until 1837. Transportation over the 
portage had been resumed as soon as peace was declared, 
and subsequently the State added four years to the original 
thirteen of the contract, in consideration of the interruption 
that the war had caused. On the first of July, 1816, the 
Niagara Bank was organized at Buffalo and Augustus 
Porter was made a director. The capital stock was $500,000, 
an immense sum for the times, but only $6.25 was required 
to be deposited on each $100 share. The charter expired in 

In June of 1816, on the sixth day, a second girl child was 
born to Augustus Porter, his fifth and last child by his sec- 
ond wife, and she was named Jane S. In the fall of that year 
Albert H. went to Schenectady to enter Union college in 
the class of 1820. His brother, Augustus S., had preceded 

* On the creation of Niagara county in 1808 all that part north of Tona- 
wanda creek was described as the town of Cambria. 






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him by two years, going there from Canandaigua. The 
younger boy, Peter B., followed a little later, but went to 
Hamilton instead of to Union, entering there with his cousin, 
Alexander Howell, the judge's son. There were not many 
pioneer families in those days, probably, from which three 
sons were thus sent to college, all to graduate. The famous 
Dr. Nott was then president of Union, and among the stu- 
dents in Albert's class was William H. Seward. The boys 
made the journey by the stage coach which ran regularly 
from Buffalo ; and the journey was so long an one that they 
could never go home for Christmas, for the vacation lasted 
but two weeks, and it took a week to make the trip each way. 
These long winter absences must have made a vast difference 
in the home circle, but otherwise the family life now again 
passed quietly, with that quiet that stands for busy, well- 
filled hours. There was early rising and early retirement to 
bed; there were long expeditions in land clearing, in the 
hunting of the hedge hog, in developing the estates ; and 
much thought and no little correspondence in carrying on 
the business of the Transportation company. The visits of 
the Indians at the house were renewed. Red Jacket came 
once more in all the glory of his chieftain's garb and with 
the dignity that made him famous ; and Corn Planter came, 
already an old man of 80 years or more, scarred and wrinkled 
and ugly, the half-breed chief — but an Indian by education 
and habit — who had appealed to President Washington 
when he saw his fellows being wronged. 

Of the great enterprises of the time a notable one was 
Judge Porter's construction of a bridge to Goat Island, in 
1817. The structure was near the island's upper end, where 
the water is comparatively quiet, and considerably above the 
present bridge ; but it proved unable to resist the rapidity 
of the current with its heavy masses of ice, and in the follow- 
ing winter it was carried down. Though the bridge lasted 
so short a time it proved, it been said, that Goat Island 
was worth more as a pleasure resort for tourist than as a 
sheep pasture. The first structure, it need hardly be added, 
like its successor, was of wood. 

On the seventeenth of August, in 18 17, on Friday, his 


Excellency, James Monroe, President of the United States, 
spent the night at Judge Porter's. He was on his way from 
Fort Niagara to Black Rock, and was accompanied by 
Major General Brown, commander-in-chief of the United 
States army. 

In 1818 Judge Porter built a bridge to Goat Island, on 
the site of the present structure. He was his own engineer, 
and the work was considered at that time an extremely dif- 
ficult and dangerous undertaking. But it stood for 38 years, 
until removed to make way for a bridge of iron. It is re- 
lated that the Indians watched the building of the bridge 
over the rapids with great amazement. Day after day they 
gathered on the bank. Red Jacket came among them. He 
saw the bulkhead built in shallow water next the shore, 
rollers put on the flooring, and then the hewn logs which 
were balanced over the rushing, swirling stream by the 
rollers. The logs were let down on pike tafls and piers were 
built around them. Red Jacket grasped the idea, and, ex- 
claiming, disheartened, "Damned Yankee! . Damned Yan- 
kee !" he walked away. The building of the bridge was fol- 
lowed by the cutting of a road around the island. 

Of the visits of the Indians to Judge Porter's house we 
can get a good idea from the personal recollections of one 
who witnessed them only a few years later, as a little girl. 
She says that there were two classes of Indians : The Tus- 
caroras and the Canadians. The visits of the latter were 
considered great occasions. They came in parties of two or 
four, generally in the winter because then they were hungry, 
and usually they came three or four times in a winter. They 
were in full regalia of feathers, robes, and rings, unwilling 
to acknowledge any mendicancy. They always arrived in 
the evening. The servants were afraid of them as they 
stalked into the kitchen without knocking, but the Judge 
would go out and talk to them. They could not speak Eng- 
lish, but he and they never had trouble in interpreting one 
another's signs. They were fed on doughnuts, apples, and 
cider, and meat, and would roll themselves in their blankets 
on the kitchen floor before the great hearth fire at bed time. 
Next morning, before the family was up, they would be 


gone. The Tuscaroras were much milder and came oftener. 
They sold mats, baskets, and beaded work, and in the sum- 
mer berries. One of their number could dance. He liked to 
be asked to do so, and as it was sport to watch him, it be- 
came a regular thing. It was a wild dance ; he accompanied 
himself, and all his fellows were proud of him. 

Judge Porter's life was now mainly where his interests 
centered, in and about the growing village of Niagara. As 
his brother Peter was busy in affairs of state and nation, so 
he was equally busy, and locally not less prominent, as the 
pioneer. The office of the Judge was in the "front cellar," or 
high basement of his house. It had its own entrance, and 
was the hub of the settlement. Here was the first village 
postoffice, here was transacted much of the Porter, Barton & 
Co. business, here every Saturday night came the long line 
of men to receive their wages. That these men were numer- 
ous for the times one can guess from the Judge's many in- 
terests. About six men were employed regularly on the 
place. Then he had his rope walk, his saw mill, his flour 
and carding mills, his farms, which extended on both sides 
and far up the road that is now Buffalo avenue, and his land 
clearing expeditions. A horse was ready at his door at 4 
o'clock on summer mornings ; and, cantering off*, frequently 
to be gone all day, the Judge would in person oversee his 
enterprises. The land clearing would sometimes keep him 
several days at a time, when he would live with his men, 
eating with them, and doing some of his own cooking in the 
way he had learned as a surveyor — only now pork roasted on 
the end of a stick took the place of bear's meat. In the win- 
ter the work was mainly wood cutting. Around the house 
itself the lawn was much as it is at present, except that there 
was a wide gateway and that the street, not yet widened, 
left more room in front of the mansion. In the rear of the 
dwelling was a garden, and at the foot of the back hill, and 
in the estate's lower corner, was a pasture. 

The housekeeping was on a generous scale, so that the 
Judge's wife was hardly less of a factotum than the Judge 
himself. The mansion's great cellar was many times sub- 
divided. There was the office ; and there was the meat 


cellar where were barrels of pork and whole sides of beef; 
the apple cellar, the milk cellar, the vegetable cellar, with its 
cider and vinegar ; the lock cellar where was kept a keg of 
brandy, the wines and whisky, and the cheese, preserved fruit 
and mince meat; and finally the "J ones cellar/' named and 
reserved for the itinerant cobbler who came two or three 
times a year, and used the room as a workshop where he 
made shoes for the family and the servants. The cooking 
was done in a great brick oven, and also over the immense 
hearth in the kitchen, the fowls, sometimes a large turkey 
and two chickens, roasting together on a spit before the fire. 
Beef, pork, poultry, fruit, vegetables, and grains were of 
course raised on the family farms. The beef and pork was 
butchered at home, and there the lard was prepared, the 
hams were smoked, and the sausages made. And these 
butchering times were great occasions. All the help was 
called in to assist in the disposition of the carcasses, for no 
part was lost. Mrs. Porter understood every detail of the 
work; but the practical superintending, was done by a 
woman of the village, summoned to the mansion of the 
Judge for the occasion and made general of the scene. The 
cider was brewed at home, and the churning done, part of 
the latter for a while by Rover, the dog ; and all the cooking 
was on the liberal, lavish scale of New England hospitality, 
which made the arrival of guests no possible embarrassment 
to the well stocked shelves of the cellars. Indeed it is re- 
membered that Henry Clay, coming in unexpectedly just as 
the family repast was ready, was greeted with a dinner that 
aroused his praise, for a word from the mistress had brought 
pies and preserves galore to add to the regular meal ; and 
De Witt Clinton, writing in his journal of his stay at Judge 
Porter's, makes note of the ''elegant dinner." In the sum- 
mer, when many men were employed about the place, it was 
customary to prepare a mid-day meal for all of them, and a 
long table was spread on the porch of the kitchen, whither 
bountiful supplies went out. 

Nor was it food alone that the housekeeper of that day 
had to look after. She, or her assistants, had to make almost 
everything used in the house. All the candles and soap were 


made at home, and there, too, the spinning was done. For 
the latter a woman was employed especially and another, 
who lived in the village, on the site of the present Cataract 
house, was knitter of the family. There was also the cobbler, 
of whom we have spoken, and in the Judge's carding estab- 
lishment on the race a kind of cloth called satinette was made 
for the local consumption. The knitter devoted almost her 
entire time to her task, making all the mittens and stockings 
for the dependants as well as the family. Among the ser- 
vants, by the way, there was a Negro and his family, whom 
the Judge had brought with him from Canandaigua. The 
man's name was Harry Wood, and he was the first Negro at 
Niagara Falls. His wife, Katie, was the cook. No friction 
is remembered between races among the servants, but the 
Negroes took their meals at a side table. 

A few events of family importance occur now and then 
to mark the passage of the years following 1817, when 
President Monroe was a guest, and 18 18 when the second 
Goat Island bridge was constructed. In the latter year 
Judge Porter's brother, General Peter B., was married to 
Letitia Breckenridge of Kentucky, only daughter of Jeffer- 
son's attorney-general ; in that year, too, the oldest boy, 
Augustus S., graduating from Union, went to Canandaigua 
to study law with Judge Howell. Two years later Albert 
H. Porter, the Judge's second son, having been graduated 
from college, began to assist his father in the care of the 
estates at home; and Barton in this year (on August 8, 
1820) conveyed his interests to Judge Porter for $10,000. 
Erie county in 1821 was set off from Niagara, and Judge 
Augustus Porter was elected a member of the constitutional 
convention, to represent with one colleague the four counties 
of Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie and Niagara ; in 1822 he 
erected at Niagara Falls the large flouring mill, subse- 
quently owned by the Witmer brothers. This had four runs 
of stones and was furnished with all the modern improve- 
ments that had then been adopted in Rochester. 

In 1825 took place the visit of Lafayette at Judge Por- 
ter's. Of this one can ask for no better account than that of 


Lafayette's own secretary, M. Levasseur.* The report may 
be briefly summarized by the statement that the general^ 
after breakfasting with the family of Judge Porter's 
brother at Black Rock, was driven to Niagara Falls. There 
the town presented to him an address and a banquet, but 
such was Lafayette's impatience to see the wonder of which 
he had heard so much, writes his secretary, that both presen- 
tations were made as brief as possible. Early in the after- 
noon the party visited Goat Island, and their impressions 
are detailed with genuine French emphasis. "Monsieur A. 
Porter, brother of General Porter, (with whom we had 
breakfasted at Black Rock)," writes the secretary, "is the 
proprietor of Goat Island. He had the courtesy to conduct 
personally General Lafayette to all the most picturesque 
points of this remarkable, or unique, property. . . . After 
two hours of a delightful drive and promenade we left the 
island, casting a parting glance upon the bridge, that unites 
it to terra firma. . . . The general could not tear himself 
away from this imposing scene and I believe that when he 
learned that Goat Island and its charming dependencies 
could be bought for the sum of $10,000, he regretted deeply 
that the distance from France would not permit him to make 
this acquisition. This would be indeed a delicious habita- 
tion. The surface of the ground, many acres in extent, is 
covered with a vigorous vegetation, while the turf is con- 
tinually refreshed by the spray, pure and light, that rises 
from the cataracts, presenting an agreeable refuge from the 
heat of summer. The course of the water that surrounds it 
offers a motive power that is incalculable, and one that could 
be easily applied to uses of many kinds. I do not think that 
Monsieur Porter (should he ever desire it), would find it 
difficult to rid himself of a property that combines so many 

•"Lafayette en Amerique, en 1824 et 1825; ou journal d'un voyage aux 
Etats-Unis," etc., two vols., Paris, 1829. This the original French edition con- 
tains a dozen curious engravings, among them a portrait of Washington in the 
costume of a Roman warrior — the Cincinnatus of the West. Dr. John D. 
Godman made translation of M. Levasseur's Journal, into English, which was 
published in Philadelphia in the same year in which the original was issued. 
Both editions are in the Historical Society library. 


In this same year old Dr. Joshua Porter, of Salisbury, 
died. The quaint letter in which this news was announced 
to the Judge has been preserved with many of the latter's 
papers. It is written by his brother Joshua, and is most 
curiously stilted, formal, and direct. The letter reads: 

Salisbury, Monday, April 4, 1825. 

Dear Sir — This will inform you of the death of our 
Father, he died on Saturday, the 2d instant, about 11 
O'Clock and was buried on Sunday after Meeting. I ar- 
rived here myself about half an hour before he died. Sister 
Eunice arrived here the evening before. We were both sent 
for and of Course we were here at his Funeral which was 
conducted in a very decent manner, and a very proper re- 
spect shewn him by the Inhabitants of the Town, much to 
my Satisfaction — Doctor Humphrey presented his Will to 
me according to his instructions, on examination it appears 
he has appointed me Executor of his Will and has Willed to 
me his personal property, paying out of it $40 a Legacy to 
Burrals Children; he has also added another hundred to 
my portion out of which I am to pay his last debts and 
funerall expenses and procure suitable Tomb Stones, the 
above hundred dollars is to be taken out of the Money due 
from Holley for the above purposes. 
. . . [concerning legacies, the Holley debt, etc.] . . . 

My family were in tolerable health when I left home. My 
Best regards to your Wife in particular and Best respects 
to all your family. 

Very much your Affectionate Brother, 

Joshua Porter. 

P. S.— Pleas to notify Peter. 

This year was notable also for two great public improve- 
ments. The construction of Black Rock harbor, in which 
Augustus Porter took a most active part; and the comple- 
tion of the Erie canal. Though the canal did not touch at 
the settlement of Niagara Falls, it had an important influ- 
ence upon the development of that town. Not only did it 
make useless forever, as a line of transportation the ancient 
carry around the falls, leading immigration direct to Buffalo 


instead ; but by the easy development from it of large water 
power at Lockport, it caused a serious check to industrial 
enterprise around the cataract, diverting the improvement 
to its own line. Yet in the advocacy and building of this 
waterway no great land-holding family had a more distin- 
guished part than did the Porters. Peter B. was one of its 
earliest projectors ; and with Morris and Clinton, he consti- 
tuted the commission for selecting its route. 

But in a certain way, which they could not foresee, the 
quiet that now stole upon the village at Niagara, the relative 
stagnation in which it was to lie for fifty years — so slow 
was its growth during all that time — redounded to the benefit 
and comfort and prominence of the Porter family. They 
had no pressing need of larger material prosperity, and as the 
great land owners of the region, as a family whose name 
stood high in the annals of history, as the possessors of the 
greatest natural wonder the new world had to offer, a unique 
position came to be held by them. Locally the ruling Porter 
was as lord of the manor, hardly a cap but was raised to him. 
And in a larger social sense the simile of the English home- 
stead stands. To many a notable, indeed, have swung open 
the doors of the hospitable Porter mansions. President 
Monroe, Lafayette, John Quincy Adams, and Henry Clay, 
are but a few names that stand out with special prominence 
in those days that followed the visits of the great chiefs of 
the Indians. In fact Peter B. himself became national secre- 
tary of war in 1828, under Adams ; and a glance at some of 
the old papers of Augustus Porter has revealed letters indi- 
cating the personal friendship of Millard Fillmore, De Witt 
Clinton, Lafayette, Cyrus W. Field, and Hamilton Fish. 
Here, for instance, is an autograph note of introduction 
from Lafayette, turned up in that hasty glance: 

Paris, April 30, 1828. 
My Dear Sir — Permit me to introduce to you Mr. 
Henry Tenwe of the eminent Manufacturing family of that 
name. Himself a young man of great learning and abilities. 
He is going to visit the American continent and his investi- 
gating scientific mind will be Highly gratified to be Flon- 


ored with your advices. I am Happy in this opportunity to 
remind you of your Obliged sincere friend. 


Remember me if you please to family and friends. 

Judge Porter. 

In other places, too, one stumbles continually on things 
throwing light on the prominence of the family. In ''Cap- 
tain Hall's Travels in North America," for instance, Edin- 
burgh, 1829, the writer tells of a visit he made to Augustus 
Porter at Niagara Falls, and how the Judge took him around 
Goat Island and discussed with him what it was best to do 
with that wonderful piece of property. It is interesting, in 
the light of recent discussion and legislation, to find that the 
Judge had been advised to cut down all the crooked trees 
and "erect a great tavern" there, on the brink of the preci- 
pice. It would have paid no doubt, but the Judge was too 
loyal to his sense of the beautiful ever thus to ruin nature's 
own setting of that glorious scene. 

But at Niagara Falls, during Judge Porter's life, the 
special emphasis was on the paternal relation to the village. 
It is no insignificant thing that he was always then referred 
to, and for years afterward was spoken of, by the surviving 
villagers, as "The Judge." Other name was neither needed 
nor given. To him the townsmen came to pour out all their 
troubles, sure of sympathy and wisdom and help. He was 
the oracle of the neighborhood, called upon to settle or 
advise in all kinds of difficulties. 

The latter years of Judge Porter's life, says a brief sketch 
of him prepared by his son, Albert H. Porter, "were chiefly 
devoted to his private business, in the cultivation of his 
lands, and in various local improvements, with his charac- 
teristic energy-, his mental faculties unimpaired to the time 
of his decease." His house became now the "homestead" 
which it has ever since been called, as his children began to 
marry and settle about it, and came, like the commoner vil- 
lagers, to look upon it as the center of the town ; only to 
them a prouder, more personal feeling, naturally made the 
old house dearer than it could be to any others. Its relative 
magnificence was still maintained. The carpet, for instance, 


that was destined to cover the floor of the long parlors for 
more than half a century, and then to be stored as worthy of 
further use, was purchased at this time, brought all the way 
from New York. It was probably the second fine Brussels 
carpet in the western part of the state, and the first was in 
the house of General Porter, the Judge's brother. 

The lives of the children become now of interest and im- 

Augustus S., the oldest son of the Judge, having com- 
pleted his law studies in Canandaigua, had removed to Black 
Rock to practice. In 1822 he had married Sarah A. Mans- 
field, but in 1824 she had died. From Black Rock Augustus 
S. went to Detroit, where he served for several years as 
mayor of the city. In 1832 he married a second wife, Sarah 
G. Barnard. From 1839 to 1845 he was United States sena- 
tor from Michigan, and shortly thereafter returned to Niag- 
ara Falls to reside, bringing his wife and two daughters, and 
building a fine house close to his father's and similarly over- 
looking the river. 

In 1826 the second son, Albert H., took charge with a 
partner, Henry W. Clark, of a large paper mill which the 
Judge erected on Bath Island. The upper race, for the utili- 
zation of water power, was also extended and various works 
were established upon it. In 1829 Albert married Julia 
Mathews, daughter of Vincent Mathews, of Rochester, who 
had taken part in the first jury trial west of Herkimer county 
with Albert's two lawyer uncles, Peter B. Porter and Na- 
thaniel W. Howell. General Mathews, like his companions 
in that trial, was now a widely distinguished man. He had 
been the first lawyer admitted to practice in the Ontario 
County Court. In 1826 he had been elected village trustee of 
Rochester, the first distinctively representative of the famous 
Third ward. He had served in the legislature of the State 
and in Congress, and in 1834 was to be elected (by the Com- 
mon Council) the first attorney and counsel of the city oi 
Rochester. The bride's family was very old and prominent 
on both her father's and mother's side, and she is described 
as having been an extremely beautiful girl. After the wed- 
ding Albert brought his bride to his father's house for the 


winter. In the summer a new dwelling was completed for 
them, opposite the homestead. Five children were the fruit 
of the union. 

The third son, Peter B., studied law, practiced it for 
some time in Buffalo, and then returned to his father's 
house. He was handsome, dashing, and socially very popu- 
lar. For four terms, 1838, 1839, 1840, 1841, he was elected 
to the assembly from Niagara county, and in the fourth term 
served as speaker, the youngest speaker in the history of the 
state. Then he held many village offices. He never mar- 
rid, but with his maiden sister, Lavinia E., lived long after 
his father's death in the old homestead. 

In 1837 Jane S., the youngest daughter, was married. 
She had been to Detroit to visit her brother, and there had 
met Daniel J. Townsend, a descendant on both his father's 
and mother's side of early 'New England colonists from Eng- 
land. She was sent for to come home, owing to the illness 
of her mother, and Mr. Townsend escorted her. The wed- 
ding took place on the 26th of September, in the evening, 
with many relatives present. The next day the bride and 
groom, following the pioneer instincts of their fathers, set 
out in a "prairie schooner" wagon for the West; They 
settled near the present city of Chicago, but returned finally 
to Niagara Falls to live. Four children, of whom the first 
died in infancy, were born to them. Jane as a girl had been 
sent away to school, just as the boys had been sent to college. 
A sister of the Judge, married to Colonel Pawling, lived in 
Troy.* There, too, Mrs. Willard had her famous school, and 
to her, that she might be with her aunt, Jane was sent. In 
1834, when she graduated, Judge and Mrs. Porter took the 
long eastward journey to be present at the commencement. 
With them they took the wife of their son Augustus, their 
year-old grandchild, Jenny; and a nurse. They went by 
packet on the canal. The boat was fast, for it was drawn 
by three horses, instead of the commoner two. Mrs. Augus- 
tus S. Porter and her child went on to Connecticut to visit 
relatives, while the Judge and his wife waited their return in 

* Col. Albert Pawling, first mayor of Troy, first sheriff of the county, and 
a prominent officer in the Revolutionary war. 


Troy. It was during this visit that the fine, large portraits 
of Judge and Mrs. Porter were painted at Albany. 

The trip was destined to be repeated under less happy 
circumstances. Time had been passing quickly in these 
smooth later days and at last Mrs. Porter was stricken with 
an incurable disease. One arm was rendered useless, yet 
she lost none of her interest in the household management, 
and was still the efficient, placid, pleasant mistress of old. 
She was also the firm, brave woman who had kept the guns 
and commanded the village in the days of war, for when 
heroic treatment of the trouble was decided upon she did not 
flinch. It was tried in Buffalo, at the General's house, with- 
out success, and bravely she and the Judge journeyed once 
more to Albany, where was the best surgical advice, and 
there, too, there was an operation unrelieved by anaesthetic, 
a blessing in those days unknown. But the strong endurance 
was in vain. Gradually Mrs. Porter grew worse. All the 
fall of 1840 she was confined to her bed, and on the 31st 
of January, 1841, she died. The funeral, attended by a large 
gathering, was from the house. Dr. Shelton, an Episcopal 
clergyman of Buffalo and a friend of the family, officiated. 
The burial was in the old village cemetery, on the slowly 
rising hill that overlooked the broad sweep of river, and 
where the thunders of the cataract are plainly heard. 

His daughter Lavinia now kept house for the Judge. In 
the last months of her mother's illness most of the care of 
the household had devolved upon her, and she efficiently 
continued the task of making a calm and pleasant home for 
her father, now upwards of 72 years of age, and her unmar- 
ried brother Peter. Lavinia was herself not strong, and so 
had a housekeeper to help her. She was a sufferer from a 
cough that the best medical advice was unable to cure ; but 
the home had never the depressing gloom and quiet that old 
age and an invalid might so easily have given to it. La- 
vinia's role was that, of "Lady of the Mansion," and she 
played it with that grace, and charm, and sunniness of tem- 
perament, and broad hospitality, for which nature had given 
her the spirit. The number and magnitude of her private 
and quiet charities no one could measure ; but when she 


died, a score of years after this, the family had chiseled upon 
her tomb this verse (James iii., 17), which is said exactly to 
describe her : "First pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to 
be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality 
and without hypocrisy." 

The family ties were close between all the children, and, 
centering in the old homestead, they found unique and pleas- 
ant expression in the custom, to be continued long after the 
father's death, now inaugurated in the mid-forties. This 
was a family supper party to which all the sons and daugh- 
ters and grandchildren were invited, and held sometimes in 
one house and sometimes in another, but always on January 
18th, the anniversary of the Judge's birth. A feature of 
these gatherings in later years came to be the reading of the 
"Chronicles," written in Biblical style, and relating all the 
family events of importance during the preceding twelve- 
months. These were regularly, cleverly, and truthfully con- 
tinued for many years ; and have lately, through the patient 
labor of a loyal grandchild of the Judge, Julia Porter Os- 
borne, been carried down to the present time, making a com- 
plete family history of almost fifty years. 

On the tenth of March, 1844, another death occurred in 
the family. It was that of General Peter Buell Porterj the 
brother of the Judge, the sharer of the hardships of the fron- 
tier life at Canandaigua ; the co-worker in the wilderness at 
Niagara, the partner in the transportation business ; and the 
associate in the triumphs which foresight, courage, and per- 
severance had so amply won for these two brothers. Better 
known to the public, through his prominence in the national 
councils of state and war, the news of his comparatively 
sudden death came with a shock to the whole country, and 
the press was filled with eulogies of the brave man whom 
the nation had reason to regard as almost its main champion 
in the crisis of 18 12. In the village the sentiment was more 
that of veneration for the frontier's defender, with perhaps 
a little awe, owing to the honors put upon him ; and not 
quite the personal feeling possibly that the more fatherly 
Judge could claim. General Porter had built for himself a 
splendid mansion, opposite the present site of the Interna- 


tional hotel ; and there he died, and thence was carried, after 
a funeral notable in the annals of the town, to his last resting 
place on the burial hill. 

It had been his custom, after the construction of this 
house (in 1838), to give annually in the winter an entertain- 
ment there for the villagers. This was called "the village 
party." There was usually dancing and sometimes a play, 
and the occasion was one of great amusement and pleasure 
to the Porters. The story is still told of one young man who 
asked Elizabeth "to polk" and of another who, on being con- 
gratulated by the General on his engagement to be married, 
replied, " 'Tis the luck o' nature." The villagers attended 
freely but were very diffident. After the General's death the 
house passed to his son. 

Meanwhile the village of Niagara Falls had been grow- 
ing, and while the Porters, now more numerous, maintained 
their old prominence in it, the town was fast outgrowing its 
primitive, frontier character. In 1836 a slightly built rail- 
road had been constructed via the village to connect Buffalo 
and Lockport ; in 1845 tne inclined plane at the ferry, with 
cars run by water power, was substituted for the old winding 
stairs and ladders ; and in 1848 a temporary suspension 
bridge was swung across the river. Five churches, repre- 
senting as many denominations, had been erected in 1849, 
instead of the old plan, in operation until 1815, by which 
common services had been held in the schoolhouse. There 
was even a weekly newspaper, called the Iris of Niagara, 
established in 1847, an d there were large mills, several con- 
siderable hotels, and many stores. In 1842, after many years' 
study of the problem, Judge Porter made public for the first 
time a plan for considerably extending the system of canals 
and races that was already employed in the moderate utiliza- 
tion of Niagara's water power. In January, 1847, in con- 
nection with Peter Emslie, a civil engineer, he published a 
formal plan. This became a subject of negotiation with New 
York parties, and the construction of a hydraulic canal, fin- 
ished only long after the Judge's death, was at last com- 

The interests of the Judge seemed ever broader, and in 


many of these matters he had an active part. Severe deaf- 
ness had come with age, but otherwise his vigor seemed little 
impaired. But in 1843 an accident caused a sudden change. 
He was at his sawmill on the race, behind the house, and 
slipped and fell while prying a stick of timber. The hip was 
injured and from that time he was lame. Finally a nervous 
disease came on, and early in the spring of 1849 tne pioneer 
of eighty years was obliged to take to his bed. He never 
rose, and on the tenth of June, 1849, ne died. 

The funeral was held from the house. It was very 
largely attended, not only by townsmen, but by many people 
from Black Rock and Buffalo. He was buried beside his 
wife, in the village cemetery, and far and wide it was recog- 
nized that a truly great man had gone. Turner had visited 
him in this last year, and prints this description of him : "He 
may be said to constitute a connecting link between two gen- 
erations. . . . Living now in an age of luxury, of increas- 
ing effeminacy; surrounded by all the comforts of life; 
with ample means to enjoy its luxuries ; he emphatically be- 
longs to the old school ; preserving the simple, frugal habits 
of his youth and middle age, his habits of industry and econ- 
omy; his love of the substantial and sensible things of this 
life." And then with an enthusiasm which, as he says, needs 
no apology, he exclaims on the changes which this pioneer 
had seen ; on the marvelous contrasts in the scenes his mem- 
ory could paint: "How blended,'' Turner wrote, "with 
change, progress, the mighty achievements of our age and 
race, is the name, are the reminiscences, of this earlv pio- 

Judge Porter's Second Bridge to Goat Island, 1818. 




My father, Joshua Porter, was born in Lebanon, Conn., 
on the 26th June, O. S., 1730. He was educated at Yale 
College and adopted the profession of physician and' sur- 
geon. In the year 1757 he located himself in the town of 
Salisbury in the same state, where he lived in the actual prac- 
tice of his profession for more than fifty years, and where 
he resided until his death, which occurred in 1825, in the 
95th year of his age. In May, 1759, he was married to my 
mother, Abigail Buel, daughter of Peter Buel of Coventry, 
Conn., with whom he lived until her death in October, 1797. 
By this marriage he had six children, viz : Joshua Porter, 
born May 1, 1760; Abigail Porter, born Oct. 20, 1762; 
Eunice Porter, born Sept. 10, 1765 ; Augustus Porter, born 
Jan. 18, 1769; Peter B. Porter, born August 14, 1773; and 
Sally Porter, born Sept. 10, 1778. 

I attended the common school of the town until I was 
some 14 or 15 years old. My regular attendance at school 

* Ample extracts were used by Orsamus Turner in his "History of the 
Holland Purchase," but the autobiography as a whole has never before been 

277 - & 


was however interrupted during the war of the Revolution, 
when owing to the scarcity of men to perform the labors of 
the farm, it became necessary to employ boys ; so that much 
of the time I only went to school in the winter, and worked 
on the farm in the summer. 

In the Fall of 1786 I spent some three or four months 
with Mr. Tisdale of Lebanon, under whose instruction I 
studied mathematics, and particularly surveying. In conse- 
quence of the sudden death of Mr. Tisdale by paralysis I 
returned to my father's and again commenced work on the 
farm, which was my chief employment until 1789. In 1787 
I assisted a Mr. Moore in making some farm surveys in the 
neighborhood, and in 1788 I did some surveying myself, by 
which I acquired some practical knowledge of the art. 

In the year 1789 Captain William Bacon, Gen. John 
Fellows, Gen. John Ashley, and Elisha Lee, Esq., of Shef- 
field, Mass. ; Deacon John Adams of Alford, Mass., and my 
father, having become the purchasers of Township No. 12, 
1st. Range (now Arcadia, Wayne Co.), and No. 10 in the 
4th Range (now East Bloomfield, Ontario Co.), then in the 
county of Montgomery, New York, I entered into an agree- 
ment with them to go out and survey these tracts. I ac- 
cordingly in pursuance of previous arrangements made with 
Captain Bacon, met him at Schenectady, early in May, 1789. 
Here I found Captain Bacon had collected some cattle, pro- 
visions and farming utensils for the use of the settlers who 
were going forward in company with Deacon Adams and 
his family, whom I also met at the same place, and who took 
charge of the cattle. The provisions were taken into two 
boats. I assisted in navigating one of the boats, each carry- 
ing about twelve barrels, and known as Schenectady bat- 
teaux, and each navigated by four men. 

Leaving Schenectady, we proceeded up the Mohawk to 
Fort Stanwix (now Rome). In passing Little Falls of the 
Mohawk the boats and their contents were transported 
around on wagons. At Fort Stanwix we carried our boats, 
etc., over a portage of about one mile to the waters of Wood 
Creek. This Creek affords but little water from the portage 
to its junction with the Canada Creek, which falls into Wood 


Creek seven miles west of Fort Stanwix. At the portage 
there was a dam for a sawmill which created a considerable 
pond. This pond when full could be rapidly discharged, and 
on the flood thus suddenly made boats were enabled to pass 
down. We passed down this stream, which empties into the 
Oneida Lake, and through that lake and its outlet to the 
Three River point, and thence up the Seneca river and the 
outlet of Kanadasaga Lake (now Seneca lake), to Kana- 
dasaga settlement, now Geneva. The only interruption to 
the navigation of this river and outlet occurred at Seneca 
Falls and Waterloo, then known as Scoys. At Seneca Falls 
we passed our boat up the stream empty by the strength of a 
double crew, our loading being taken around by a man named 
Job Smith, who had a pair of oxen and a rudely constructed 
cart, the wheels of which were made by sawing off a section 
of a log, some 2^2 or 3 feet in diameter. At Scoys we took 
out about half our load to pass, consisting mostly of bar- 
rels which were rolled around the rapids. 

From the time we left Fort Stanwix until we arrived at 
Kanadasaga, we found no white persons, except at the junc- 
tion of Canada and Wood Creeks, where a man lived by the 
name of Armstrong; at Three River Point where lived a 
Mr. Bingham ; and at Seneca Falls, where was Joab Smith. 
Geneva was at that time the most important western settle- 
ment, and consisted of some six or seven families, among 
who were Col. Reed, father of the late Rufus S. Reed of 
Erie, Penn. ; Roger Noble and family of Sheffield, Mass., 
and Asa Ransom, late of Erie County, who had a small shop, 
and was engaged in making Indian trinkets. At Geneva we 
left our boats and cargoes in charge of Capt. Bacon, who had 
come from Schenectady to Fort Stanwix on horseback and 
then took passage in our boats. Joel Steel, Thaddeus Keyes, 
Orange Woodruff and myself, took our packs on our backs 
and followed the Indian trail over to Canandaigua. 

At Canandaigua (then called Kanandarque) we found 
Gen. Chapin, Daniel Gates, Joseph Smith (Indian interpre- 
ter), Benjamin Gardner and family, Frederick Saxton (sur- 
veyor), and probably some half dozen others, all of whom 
except Smith and Gardner had come on with Gen. Chapin 


some ten or fifteen days before in boats from Schenectady 
by Fort Stanwix, Wood Creek, Oneida Lake, etc., and up 
the Canandaigua Outlet into the very lake itself. This is 
the only instance within my knowledge of the ascent of boats 
for transportation so high up ; the ordinary point of landing, 
afterwards, being at Manchester, seven miles down. The 
only houses in Canandaigua were of logs ; one occupied by 
Gen. Chapin near the outlet; one a little further north on 
the rising ground occupied by Smith, and one by Gardner 
near the old Antis house as at present known, and the other 
on the lot where the Oliver Phelps house stands, which ha J. 
been built the fall before by Mr. Walker, an agent of Mr. 
Phelps. In this house Caleb Walker, his brother, died in 
1790, and was the first person buried in the graveyard in 

From Canandaigua I went to Township No. 10, in the 
4th Range, now East Bloomfield, where I found Jonathan 
Adams, one of the proprietors of the town who had come on 
from Schenectady with cattle and horses, accompanied by 
his large family, consisting of the following persons : Him- 
self and wife, his sons John, William, Abner and Joseph ; 
his sons-in-law Ephraim Rew and Lorin Hull, and their 
wives (.his daughters) ; Wilcox, another son-in-law, and a 
younger daughter, afterwards the wife of John Keyes ; 
Elijah Rose, a brother-in-law, wife and son, and the follow- 
ing named persons : Moses Gunn, Lot Rew, John Barnes, 
Roger Sprague, Asa Heacock, Benj. Goss, John Keyes, 
Nathaniel Norton and Eber Norton. Here Mr. Adams had 
erected two small log houses and one large one in which for 
the time being all these people found shelter. Mr. Adams 
in compliance with an arrangement with the proprietors fur- 
nished me with the necessary hands and provisions to fit out 
my surveying party, and I then commenced the survey of the 

After finishing the survey of this township Frederick 
Saxton and myself surveyed and allotted Township 9 in the 
6th Range (now Livonia, Livingston County), which proved 
to be one of the best townships of land in the Genesee 
country. To show however the inconsiderable value put 


upon it at that time, I mention the fact that Gen. Fellows 
offered to sell the whole township to Mr. Saxton and myself 
at twenty cents per acre. 

After completing the survey of this township, Mr. Saxton 
assisted me in the survey of Township No. 12, 1st Range. 
(Arcadia, Wayne Co.) Col. Hugh Maxwell, a surveyor, 
had contracted with Phelps and Gorham the previous year 
to run out into Townships the whole of that part of their 
purchase to which the Indian title had been extinguished. 
Not having completed the work, he entered into an agree- 
ment with Mr. Saxton and myself to survey a portion, con- 
sisting of about forty townships, which now constitute a 
part of Steuben County. We entered immediately on this 
survey, and completed it in the course of the season. While 
employed in it we made our headquarters at Painted Post on 
the Conhocton River, at the house of old Mr. Harris and his 
son William. These two men, Mr. Goodhue, who lived near 
by, and a Mr. Meade two miles up the river, at the mouth of 
a stream since known as Meade's Creek, were the only per- 
sons then on the territory we were surveying. Before we 
left, however, Solomon Bennet, Mr. Stevens, Capt. Jameson 
and Mr. Crosby arrived from Pennsylvania in search .of a 
township for purchase and future settlement, and fixed on 
Township No. 3, in the 5th and No. 4 in the 6th Ranges, both 
lying on the Canisteo River, and soon after settled by these 
men. They are now known in whole or in part as the town 
of Canisteo. 

In the Fall I returned to my father's in Salisbury by the 
water route in company with several persons from New Eng- 
land, who having spent the Summer at the West, were re- 
turning home to pass the winter. 

In addition to the persons mentioned by me as found at 
Canandaigua in the Spring of this year (1789), the follow- 
ing came in during the Summer, viz. : Abner Barlow, Israel 
Chapin, Jr., Othmiel Taylor, Nathaniel Gorham, Dr. Moses 
Atwater, Judah Colt, John Call, Amos Hall, Ge. Wells, 
John Clark, Daniel Brainerd, John Fanning, Stephen Bates, 
Aaron Heacock, James Fisk, Jairus Rose, Hugh Jameson, 
Mr. Truman, Orange Brace, Martin Dudley, and Luther 


Cole. The following came into Victor: Hezekiah Boughton, 
Enos Boughton, Jared Boughton, Seymour Boughton, 2d, 
Lyman Boughton, Zebulon Norton, Joel Scudder, Mr. Smith 
and Mr. Brace. Into Bristol, Gamaliel Wilder, Jonathan 
Wilder, William Gooding, Elnathan Gooding; into Geneva, 
Roger Noble, Phineas Stevens, Elias Jackson, Mr. Jennings, 
William Patterson, Peter Bortle. To Palmyra, Gen. John 
Swift. To Pittsford, Israel Stone, Simon Stone, Paul Rich- 
ardson, Mr. Allen, Mr. Acker. To Irondequoit Landing, 
Mr. Lusk. To Brighton, Orange Stone and Chauncey 
Hyde. Also Capt. John Gilbert from Lenox, Mass. (father 
of John Gilbert, now of Ypsilanti, Mich.), who surveyed 
the town into lots. To Perrinton, Glover Perrin, and Caleb 
Walker. To Livonia, Solomon Woodruff. To Avon, Gilbert 
Berry, Capt. Thompson, Timothy Hosmer, and Mr. Rice 
(whose wife gave birth to the first child born on the Phelps 
and Gorham Purchase, who was named Oliver Phelps Rice). 
To Vienna, Decker Robinson. To Middletown, at the head 
of Canandaigua Lake, Col. Clark, Capt. Walkins, Lieut. 
Cleveland, and Ensign Parrish. To Lima, Abner Miles and 
Dr. Minor. 

Among the incidents of this year (1789) in this western 
region, then just beginning to be inhabited, was the follow- 
ing : A Mr. Jenkins, who went out for the proprietors, John 
Swift and others, to survey Township 12, 2d Range (Pal- 
myra), commenced his labors early in the season, and 
erected for the accommodation of his party, a small hut of 
poles. One night, when the party were asleep, two Indians 
attacked them, first firing their rifles through the open 
cracks of the hut, and then rushing in. One of Jenkins's 
men was killed by the first fire, but Jenkins and his party, 
after a brief struggle, succeeded in driving the savages off 
without further loss. He went the next morning to Geneva, 
where he learned that the Indian party to which they prob- 
ably belonged had gone south. He accordingly, in company 
with others, followed in pursuit as far as Newtown (now 
Elmira), on the Chemung River, near which place the mur- 
derers were captured. Newtown was then the principal, 
indeed almost the only settlement in that region of country. 


The Indian^ were examined before an informal assembly, 
and the proof being in their opinion, sufficient to establish 
their guilt, the question arose, as to how they should be dis- 
posed of. The gaol of the county (then Montgomery) was 
at Johnstown, and it was not deemed practicable to trans- 
port them so great a distance through an Indian wilderness. 
It was therefore determined summarily to execute them, and 
their determination was carried into immediate effect, an 
account of which I received from Jasper Parrish and Horatio 
Jones (afterwards Indian agents), who were eye witnesses 
of the execution. 

Another incident occurred at Canandaigua during this 
year worthy perhaps of notice. The year was one of unusual 
scarcity among the Indians. Indeed they were almost re- 
duced to starvation. Oliver Phelps having made a treaty 
with them the year previous they were to meet him this 
year to receive their stipulated annuities. As is usual on 
such occasions presents were provided for distribution 
among them, as well as articles of subsistence, of which it 
was known they stood in great need. The number of Indi- 
ans assembled however greatly exceeded his expectations 
(increased doubtless by their starving condition), amounting 
probably to 2,000. The stock of provisions proving inade- 
quate to their wants, they were driven to the necessity of de- 
vouring everything that could satisfy hunger, consuming 
with voracity even the entrails of the animals that had been 
slaughtered. They parted with almost everything that they 
had to purchase food, and did not disperse until they had 
nearly produced a famine among the white inhabitants. 

Another occurrence of this season was the opening of a 
road from Geneva to Canandaigua, which was the first piece 
of road opened west of Westmoreland, now in Oneida 
County. The winter of ^Scj-'cjo I spent at my father's in 
copying my field notes and finishing up my surveys. 

During the winter of 1789-90 I entered into an agree- 
ment with Gen. John Fellows, one of the proprietors of East 
Bloomfield, to join him in the erection of a sawmill on Mud 
Creek in that town, about five miles west of Canandaigua. 
In pursuance of this plan we collected at Schenectady a 


stock of provisions, tools, etc., necessary for the purpose. 
In May I embarked again at Schenectady for the West, 
taking with me these articles, and proceeded by nearly the 
same route as in the previous year except that I passed up 
the Canandaigua Outlet to Manchester now called, and 
thence transported my loading by teams to East Bloomfield. 
One of my companions in this expedition was Doctor Daniel 
Chapin, who resided many years in Bloomfield, and after- 
wards removed to Buffalo where he died. Also Oliver 
Chapin and Aaron Taylor and family. 

I have heretofore remarked that the mode adopted to 
render Wood Creek navigable was to collect the water by 
means of a milldam, thus creating a sudden flood, to carry 
boats down. Sometimes boats did not succeed in getting 
through to deep water on one flood and were consequently 
obliged to await a second one. As we were coursing down 
the creek during the voyage on our first flood we overtook 
a boat which had grounded after the previous one, the navi- 
gators of which were in the water ready to push her off as 
soon as the coming tide should reach them. Among these 
persons was James Wadsworth of Geneseo, with whom I 
then first became acquainted. He was then on his way to the 
West, to occupy his property at Geneseo, which has since 
become so beautiful and valuable an estate. Gen. Fellows 
set out for Bloomfield on horseback, having sent on a team 
(two yoke of oxen and a wagon) with a moderate load and 
four or five cows. These were driven by some persons com- 
ing on to assist in building the mill, and among them Mr. 
Dibble the millwright. Gen. Fellows parted with the wagon 
near Utica. 

During the previous winter the Legislature of New York 
had appropriated a township of land (called the "road town- 
ship"), situated in what is now called Madison County, the 
proceeds of which were to be applied to opening a road west 
from Westmoreland. .The job had been taken by contract 
and Gen. Fellows found the party cutting out the road not 
far from the present settlement of Onondaga. After Gen. 
Fellows reached Bloomfield, fearing that the team might not 
be able to get through with the materials for the mill, he 


despatched me back to meet the party and help them along, 
At Cayuga Lake I met Mr. Dibble the millwright, from 
whom I learned that the team had left its load at Onondaga, 
and that the men with the cattle and wagon were coming on 
with a large number of settlers, as fast as the persons em- 
ployed in opening the road with their assistance progressed 
with the work. I thereupon concluded to return to Man- 
chester and take the boat I had left there and go to Onon- 
daga for the loading. Taking Mr. Dibble and another man 
with me I went to Onondaga, and returned with the loading. 
The men and teams of the party reached Bloomfield at about 
the same time we did. I spent the summer chiefly in attend- 
ing to the erection of the sawmill, occasionally doing some 
surveying, particularly Town 13, 4th Range, now Penfield, 
Monroe County, which had been purchased of Phelps & 
Gorham by Jonathan Fassett. The mill was finished in the 
fall, and was I believe the third one erected on the Phelps & 
Gorham purchase. 

In December of this year ( 1790) I went in company with 
Orange Brace and two other persons on foot to Connecticut. 
The journey was a tedious and painful one, being made 
through a deep snow the whole distance, a part of which was 
accomplished on snowshoes. 

The following are some of the persons who came into 
the country this year, viz. : To' Canandaigua, Nathaniel San- 
burn, Lemuel Castle, Seth Holcomb; to Victor, Hezekiah 
Boughton, sen., Seymour Boughton, sen. ; to Bristol, Deacon 
Codding, John Codding, George Codding, Francis Codding, 
and Ephraim Wilder; to Pittstown (now Richmond), 
Peter, Gideon, William and Samuel Pitts ; to Geneseo, James 
and William Wadsworth ; to W r est Bloomfield, Benjamin 
Gardner (from Canandaigua), Robert Taft, Mr. Miller, 
Clark Peck, Esq. Curtis, Jasper P. Sears, Nathan Marvin, 
Lorin Wait, Amos Hall ; to Avon, Gad Wadsworth, Mr. 
Ganson ; to Farmington, old Mr. Comstock and his sons 
Jared, Darius, John and Otis, and Isaac Hathaway. 

During the session of the Legislature in 1789-90, a 
law was passed erecting the county of Ontario, to consist 
of all that portion of the State lying west of the east line of 


the Phelps & Gorham Purchase. This was the first county 
set off from Montgomery. The following were the first 
officers appointed: Oliver Phelps, first judge; Timothy 
Hosmer (afterwards himself first judge), Arnold Potter 
and Israel Chapin, side judges; Judah Colt, sheriff, and 
Nathaniel Gorham, clerk. 

I spent a part of the winter of 1790- '91 at my father's, 
and in February I left again for the West. I made the jour- 
ney in company with John Fellows, son of Gen. Fellows, 
and two others, in a two-horse sleigh. At that time the only 
white settlements between Westmoreland and the Seneca 
Lake, were at Onondaga Hollow, where Gen. Danforth and 
Comfort Taylor had settled; and at what is now Eldridge 
in Cayuga County, where a Mr. Buck had located himself. 
On this journey we encamped for the night in a fine hemlock 
grove on the east side of the Owasco Outlet, where Auburn 
now stands. 

During the early part of this season (1791), in carrying 
on the sawmill and making improvement on land, with oc- 
casional surveying, I became acquainted for the first time 
with Oliver Phelps. This was an important event in my 
life at the West, for it led not only to my permanent and 
steady employment for more than ten years (first for 
Phelps & Gorham, but always under the direction of Mr. 
Phelps himself), during which I became familiar with most 
of the transactions relating to land sales, surveys, etc., but 
was followed by a personal intimacy with him, from which 
I derived many important advantages. His friendship for 
and confidence in me never faltered, and I have consequently 
always retained the highest personal respect for his name 
and memory. From him I obtained most of the information 
I now possess relative to the early hisory of the title to the 
Genesee country, as that portion of the state purchased from 
Massachusetts by Phelps & Gorham was then called. As 
this history may not be familiar to all, I will give my recol- 
lections of it. 

At the close of the Revolutionary War there existed con- 
flicting claims between the States of Massachusetts and New 
York, as to the proprietorship of the country lying west of 


the Mohawk, and extending west to the Pacific Ocean, each 
claiming under a Royal charter from the British Crown. 
The two States having ceded to the General Government so 
much of the territory so claimed as lay west of a line to be 
drawn from the western waters of Lake Ontario due south 
to the 426. degree of North latitude, the controversy, as it 
related to the residue, was settled by commissioners repre- 
senting the two States, who met at Hartford in 1786. The 
result of their conferences was that the State of New York 
was to have jurisdiction over the whole territory, not ceded 
to the General Government, reserving and vesting in Massa- 
chusets the right of preemption from the Indians of all the 
country lying west of a line to be drawn due north from 
milestone No. 82 (being 82 miles due west from the Dela- 
ware River on the 42d parallel of latitude) in the north line 
of Pennsylvania to Lake Ontario; excepting therefrom a 
strip of land one mile in width lying along the easterly side 
of the Niagara River, and the islands in that river. 

In the year 1788, the State of Massachusetts being much 
in debt, incurred in the final discharge of the Revolutionary 
army (which debt was evidenced by what were called "final 
settlement notes") sought relief and liquidation by. a dis- 
posal of these lands. The State accordingly entered into a 
contract with Oliver Phelps of Granville, Mass., and Na- 
thaniel Gorham of Charlestowh in the same State, for a sale 
to them of the whole territory, in consideration of 300,000 
pounds (Massachusetts currency), the whole of which might 
be paid in these "final settlement notes" at par, in three 
annual instalments ; the market value of these notes being 
then about four shillings on the pound. For the payment of 
this consideration the State required the purchaser to pro- 
cure personal guaranties. On the 12th May, 1788, Mr. 
Phelps, accompanied by Col. Hugh Maxwell, a Revolution- 
ary officer of Heath, Mass., as surveyor, then 57 years old, 
and William Walker of Lenox as assistant, proceeded to 
Kanadesaga, now Geneva, for the purpose of making ar- 
rangements for holding a treaty with the Indians for the pur- 
chase of the possessory right to the whole or a part of the 
territory. On arriving at Kanadesaga he found the Indians 


assembled in council with John Livingston of Columbia 
County, and Caleb Benton of Greene County, who repre- 
sented a company known at that time as "the Lessee Com- 
pany," for the lease of the tract lying immediately east of the 
Massachusetts claim. Mr. Phelps at once commenced nego- 
tiations, but as the Indians were not very numerously repre- 
sented further proceedings were adjourned to a treaty to be 
held at Buffalo about the last of June. 

This treaty was held at Buffalo in pursuance of this ad- 
journment. Mr. Phelps was anxious to purchase all their 
lands within the Massachusetts preemption claim ; but the 
Indians were unwilling to sell any part of the country west 
of the Genesee River, alleging that the Great Spirit had 
fixed that stream as a boundary between the white and the 
red man. Mr. Phelps finding them quite immovable on this 
point, then represented to them that he was very desirous to 
get some land west of the river at the great falls, for the 
purpose of building thereon mills for the use and conveni- 
ence of the white settlers coming into the country, and that 
these mills when built, would be very convenient for the 
Indians themselves. The Indians then asked him how much 
land he wanted for his mill seat. He replied that he thought 
a piece about twelve miles wide, extending from Conewa- 
garas village on the west side of the river to its mouth 
(about 28 miles) would answer the purpose. To this the 
Indians replied that it seemed a good deal of land for a mill 
seat, but as they supposed the Yankees knew best what was 
required, they would let him have it. After the treaty was 
concluded the Indians told Mr. Phelps that it being cus- 
tomary for them to give to the man with whom they had 
dealt, a name, they would give him one. They also said 
they should expect from him a "treat," and a walking-staff 
(meaning some spirit) to help them home. The name they 
gave to Mr. Phelps on this occasion was that by which he 
was ever afterwards known among them, viz. : Scaw-gwn- 
se-ga, which translated is ''the great fall." This purchase, 
which comprised what is now the city of Rochester, was 
thereafter called "the millseat tract." Its contents are about 
200,000 acres ! 


The result of this treaty was the purchase of this mill- 
seat tract and the whole of the eastern portion of the Mas- 
sachusetts claim, bounded as follows : North by Lake On- 
tario, east by the east line of the Massachusetts claim, which 
passes through a part of the Seneca Lake at Geneva ; south 
by the Pennsylvania north line ; and west by the Genesee 
River as far up as the mouth of the Canaseraga Creek, and 
by a line running due south from that point to the Pennsyl- 
vania line. The lands thus purchased at this treaty I shall 
hereafter have occasion to refer to as the " Phelps & Gorham 
Indian Purchase." 

At the same time the Lessee Company concluded their 
arrangement with the Indians, renting from them for 999 
years the tract lying east of the Phelps & Gorham purchase. 
The object of this company in taking their conveyance from 
the Indians in the form of a lease was to evade the preemp- 
tive right. It was however so palpable a fraud on that right 
that the State of New York at once refused to recognize it, 
and it was declared void by the Legislature, at its next 
session. The lands were subsequently appropriated by the 
State to the payment of military bounties, and hence have 
since been known as the Military Tract. The agents of the 
Lessee Company, Messrs. Livingston and Benton, at this 
treaty rendered important services in aiding Mr. Phelps in 
his negotiations, and received . from him two townships of 
land in what is now Yates County, which were afterwards 
known as the "Lessee townships," one of which is now 
named Benton, after the grantee above mentioned. 

Messrs. Phelps & Gorham and the lessees, as soon as 
their treaties were concluded, determined at once to send 
surveyors to run out the line which was to divide their prop- 
erty, viz., the east line of the Massachusetts claim. Geneva 
was then a small settlement, beautifully situated on the bank 
of the Seneca Lake, rendered quite attractive from its lying 
adjoining an old Indian settlement in which was an orchard. 
This orchard had been destroyed by Gen. Sullivan in his cele- 
brated campaign of 1779, but sprouts had grown up from it 
into bearing trees. As it was known the line must pass near 
this place, some anxiety was felt as to which party it might 


belong. Col. Maxwell, on the part of Phelps & Gorham, and 
Mr. Jenkins, on the part of the lessees, as surveyors, pro- 
ceeded to the point of beginning, at the S26. milestone, on the 
north line of Pennsylvania, and ran through to Lake Ontario 
a line known as the Preemption line, which passed about a 
mile and a quarter west of Geneva, and which was the basis 
of the survey made by Phelps & Gorham. This line after- 
ward was proved to have been incorrectly run ; and it was 
charged that the incorrectness was in part a fraud of Jen- 
kins, whose object was, to secure to his employers the 
Lessee Company, the location of Geneva. The suspicion of 
fraud led to a re-survey of this line, under the direction of 
Robert Morris, the particulars of which will be given in the 
sequel. The line being run, Col. Maxwell commenced im- 
mediately the survey of the tract west of it, and in the course 
of the season run out about thirty townships, and began the 
survey and allotment of Canandaigua. 

The supposition was quite common that on ascertaining 
the western boundary of the Massachusetts claim (being the 
east line of the New York and Massachusetts cession to the 
United States), it would be found to include the harbor and 
town of Presqu' Isle (now Erie, Pa.) The State of Penn- 
sylvania was anxious to secure to itself that point, and in the 
winter of 1 788^9 had made propositions to Phelps & Gor- 
ham for the purchase of it. At the request of Phelps & 
Gorham, the United States Government sent out the sur- 
veyor General Andrew Ellicott, in 1789, for the purpose of 
running and establishing this line. Frederick Saxton went 
with him on behalf of Phelps & Gorham. As this line was to 
commence at the west end of Lake Ontario, there was some 
hesitation at the outset in determining whether it should 
commence at the western extremity of Burlington Bay, or 
at the peninsula separating the bay from the lake. But it 
was at length fixed at the peninsula, and on the completion 
of the survey, by first running some distance south and then 
offsetting around the east end of Lake Erie, it was found to 
pass some twenty miles east of Presqu' Isle. This line now 
forms the western boundary of the State of New York, 
between Lake Erie and the old north line of Pennsylvania. 


and is the eastern line of a tract known as the "Presqu' 
Isle Triangle," which was afterwards purchased by Penn- 
sylvania of the United States, and is now a part of that 

After the conclusion of the Indian treaty at Buffalo, in 
1788, and as soon as the progress of surveys would permit, 
Phelps & Gorham commenced making sales, and up to the 
middle of the year 1789 had sold some thirty or forty town- 
ships, receiving small payments, chiefly in Massachusetts 
final settlement notes, with an understanding that future pay- 
ments might be made in the same securities at par. It was 
in consequence of this system of sales that they were so 

In consequence of the adoption of the Constitution of the 
United States, not long after the purchase by Phelps & Gor- 
ham, it was anticipated that the General Government would 
assume the indebtedness of the several states, growing out 
of the War of the Revolution. The effect of this belief was 
to make the holders of State securities less willing to sell at 
low rates, so that Messrs. Phelps & Gorham, instead of being 
able to continue to sell rapidly, for this species of payment, 
sold comparatively little after about the middle of 1789, and 
during the year 1790 Congress did in fact assume the pay- 
ment of certain State debts, among which were included 
these Massachusetts final settlement notes. The consequence 
of this assumption was to raise them at once to par and even 

Having failed to make the payment of the instalment 
due to Massachusetts in 1789- '90, the State commenced a 
suit against Phelps & Gorham and their sureties. Phelps & 
Gorman were, however, enabled to effect a compromise with 
the State, by which it was agreed that Phelps & Gorham 
should reconvey to Massachusetts all that portion of their 
purchase to which they had not extinguished the Indian 
title, viz. : all west of the Genesee River up to the mouth of 
the Canaseraga, and thence due south to the Pennsylvania 
line, except the mill-seat tract above mentioned, and retain 
to themselves the remainder, supposed to be about one-third 
of the whole, paying therefor a sum proportioned to the 


amount retained. It being understood that the final settle- 
ment notes were worth only four shillings on the pound 
when the purchase was made, the amount to be paid was 
estimated on that basis. This agreement was carried into 
effect in 1790 or thereabouts. 

Meanwhile the rise of these public State securities, which 
had prevented Phelps & Gorham from fulfilling their con- 
tract with Massachusetts, in like manner prevented the earlv 
purchasers under them from making their payments. Con- 
sequently a considerable part of these lands sold, reverted to 
Phelps & Gorham in after years or were bought by Oliver 
Phelps and sold by him to other persons. 

Early in 1790 Phelps & Gorham agreed to sell to Robert 
Morris of Philadelphia (the eminent financier of the Revo- 
lution) all the land in their Indian purchase, except what 
had been previously sold and were specially excepted, 
amounting in all to about fifty townships. Immediately 
after the purchase by Mr. Morris was concluded, in conse- 
quence of the suspicion always entertained of the incorrect- 
ness of the easterly line of the purchase (which had been 
run as before stated by Maxwell and Jenkins), he deter- 
mined to have it resurveyed. He accordingly employed An- 
drew Ellicott, the Surveyor General of the United States, 
to run this line again. I was with Mr. Ellicott and assisted 
him in a part of his survey. It was made with great care, 
with the very best instruments then in use, and the result 
showed a very considerable difference between it and that 
made by Maxwell and Jenkins. 

I joined Mr. Ellicott, while he was engaged in running 
this line, at the point where, in coming up from the south, 
it is brought in contact with the Seneca Lake. This point is 
from ten to twelve miles south of Geneva, a due north line 
from which would not touch the shore until it reached the 
foot of the lake, a distance of about twelve miles. From 
this, after concerting with Mr. Ellicott a system of signals, 
I traversed with my compass the west shore of the lake, and 
pursued this traverse around the north end, until I came to 
the meridian, as shown by my instrument, corresponding 
with that at my starting-point. 


Mr. Ellicott and I, being now twelve miles apart, with 
an open expanse of water between us, could only communi- 
cate with each other by means of night signals. The mode 
of doing this was as follows : I raised two lights, one quite 
high, and the other less elevated. Mr. Ellicott did the same, 
both of us being provided with telescopes. He then moved 
his shorter light (his longer one being fixed on the line he 
was running) in the direction he wished me to move mine, 
right or left, until my shorter or movable light was on the 
true meridian ; when as previously agreed on, he was to in- 
dicate I was right by placing his lower light immediately 
under his higher one. 

The easterly line of the purchase was found to pass about 
as far east of Geneva as the other passed to the west of that 
place, and the triangle bounded by these two lines and Lake 
Ontario was found to contain about 84,000 acres. The 
Ellicott line passed through a portion of Seneca Lake east 
of Geneva. The west line of Phelps & Gorham's Indian 
purchase, running south from the mouth of the Canaseraga 
to the Pennsylvania line, which had been run by Col. 
Maxwell in 1789, I had about this time re-examined and 
found it substantially correct. The west line of the mill- 
seat tract, west of the Genesee River, had been run by Col. 
Maxwell in 1789. This tract, by the treaty of Buffalo the 
year previous, was to be bounded in substance as follows : 
Beginning on the west bank of the Genesee River, two miles 
north of Conewagaras Indian village, nearly opposite the 
now village of Avon, thence due west twelve miles, thence 
northerly to Lake Ontario, on a line to be run parallel to the 
general course of the river, thence by Lake Ontario and the 
Genesee River to the place of beginning on the river. Col. 
Maxwell, in laying out this tract, ran his line twelve miles 
west from the place of beginning on the river, and then as- 
suming that the course of the river to its mouth was north, 
ran his line due north to Lake Ontario. As Mr. Morris had 
directed the re-examination of the two lines already spoken 
of, he also directed a re-survey of the west line of this mill- 
seat tract. This duty was committed to me. In making this 
re-survey it became necessary for me to determine what was 


the general course of the Genesee river to its mouth from 
the point of beginning. The general course as ascertained 
was found to be North 21 1 / 2 deg. east, so that in running 
the west line of the tract on that course, a triangle contain- 
ing about 90,000 acres, was left between the line run by Col. 
Maxwell and that run by me. As the townships were sur- 
veyed with reference to the line of Col. Maxwell, the varia- 
tion of the line will account for the oblique manner in which 
the corrected line is brought in contact with the township 
lines between it and the Genesee River. This "triangle" is 
well known as being owned by LeRoy, Bayard & McEvers 
of New York to whom it was sold by Mr. Morris, as will 
appear hereafter, and within which, near its appex, the 
beautiful village of LeRoy is situated. From these re- 
surveys of lines it was found that the amount purchased by 
Mr. Morris of Phelps & Gorham was about 1,200,000 acres. 

Very soon after this purchase by Robert Morris he sold 
the whole of it to Sir William Pultney, and it has since been 
known as the Pultney estate. Sir William, through his 
agent, Charles Williamson, who resided at Geneva, com- 
menced the sale of it to actual settlers. My recollection is 
that in this sale to Sir William, Mr. Morris cleared about 
$70,000. It must, however, be borne in mind that Phelps & 
Gorham in their sale to Mr. Morris, excepted what had 
previously been sold (much of which reverted, as before 
stated), and reserved from the sale other townships and 
tracts, and that these sales and reservations constituted by 
far the better part of the Phelps & Gorham Indian purchase. 
This must be apparent from the fact that they were made 
after careful examination with a view to actual settlement. 

Not long after the surrender by Phelps & Gorham of 
their preemptive right to the country west of their Indian 
purchase to the State of Massachusetts, Mr. Morris pur- 
chased of that State, that right to the whole tract, and com- 
menced reselling it in large quantities, stipulating at the 
same time to extinguish the Indian right. One of his first 
sales was to LeRoy, Bayard & McEvers of New York of 
the "Triangle," as has already been stated and described. 
He also sold to Watson & Greenleaf a parallelogram six 


miles in width lying directly west of the Triangle, bounded 
north by Lake Ontario, and extending so far south as to in- 
clude 100,000 acres. Watson & Greenleaf afterwards sold 
this tract to Oliver Phelps, who in 1795 sold 1 it with other 
lands to DeWitt Clinton. In conveying to Air. Clinton, Mr. 
Phelps executed to him a deed or deeds of the tract in two 
undivided halves, he paying to Mr. Phelps on this and other 
lands $30,000 down, and executing two mortgages back, 
each of an undivided half. Mr. Clinton conveyed subject 
to the mortgage one undivided half to Charles Williamson, 
the agent of Sir William Pultney. The mortgage was paid 
off by Mr. Williamson, and the lands thus became part of 
the Pultney estate. The other half Mr. Clinton never paid 
for, and it reverted to Mr. Phelps. Mr. Clinton having 
given no bond or other personal security collateral to the 
mortgage, the debt was paid by a forfeiture of the mort- 
gage. After the death of Mr. Phelps the interest of his 
estate in this tract was conveyed by his representatives to 
the State of Connecticut in payment of a debt due by him 
for lands purchased in the Western Reserve of Ohio. It was 
thus that half of this 100,000 acre tract became a part of the 
Connecticut school fund lands. 

Mr. Morris also sold through Herman LeRoy, John 
Linklaen and others, to certain Holland companies, all that 
portion of his purchase of the State of Massachusetts, lying 
west of a north and south line to commence on the north 
line of Pennsylvania, twelve miles west from the southwest 
corner of Phelps & Gorham Indian purchase, and extending 
to Lake Ontario. He also sold to Andrew Craigie of 
Boston, a tract lying directly south of the Watson & Green- 
leaf tracts, and of the same width, six miles, to extend in a 
rectangular form so far south as to contain 14,000 acres. 
When, in 1798, the east line of the Holland Purchase was 
run out, it was found to cut off from the west side of this 
Craigie tract a strip some two miles in width, and would 
have taken a strip of equal width from the Watson & 
Greenleaf tract, but that the conveyance to Watson & 
Greenleaf was of earlier date than that to Herman LeRoy 
and others. Of the remaining lands held by Air. Morris, a 


portion was conveyed to trustees for the benefit of his hon- 
orary creditors, but previous to this conveyance he sold a 
large tract in the twelve-mile strip between the east line of 
the Holland tract and the west line of Phelps & Gorham's 
Indian Purchase, in what is now a part of Allegany County, 
to John B. Church, Esq., of the City of New York, the son- 
in-law of the distinguished Revolutionary general Philip 
Schuyler (Mrs. Church being the General's daughter). 
This sale to Mr. Church led to the settlement on the tract 
of his son, Philip Church, Esq., who gave to the place of his 
residence the name Angelica, after his mother. 

Previously, however, to these large sales by Mr. Morris 
a tract of about 10,000 acres lying on the west side of the 
Genesee River, embracing the now village of Leicester, was 
given by the Indians to Joseph Smith and Horatio Jones, 
Indian interpreters. As Mr. Morris had yet to treat with 
the Indians for the extinguishment of their right to the 
whole country, he did not hesitate to confirm to their friends 
Smith and Jones, this gift. The interest of Smith in this 
tract was afterwards purchased from him by Mr. Phelps. 
That of Mr. Jones I suppose is now in the hands of his de- 
scendants, and of his surviving brother, John Jones.* 

In the year 1797 a treaty was held by Mr. Morris with 
the Indians at Geneseo, at which the Indian title was ob- 
tained to the whole tract bought by him of the State of 
Massachusetts; except the lands comprised in ten Indian 
reservations (of which that of Buffalo was one), which are 
well known. 

In July, 1791, I entered into the employ of Phelps & 
Gorham, whom I served chiefly for some years. In Septem- 
ber of this year however, I was engaged in making surveys 
for Robert Morris, at the instance of his loyal agent, Adam 
Hoops, Esq., and spent the fall in running out townships 
and in resurveyinig the lines already spoken of. At the 
close of the year I again returned to Salisbury and passed 
the winter at my father's. During this year the first town 

•Judge John H. Jones, the first judge of Genesee county when it extended 
from the Genesee river to the Niagara. See Buffalo Historical Society Publica- 
tions, Vol. VI., p. 526. 


meeting was held at Canandaigua, then the only organized 
town in Ontario County. Thomas Morris, Esq., a son of 
Robert Morris, went to Canandaigua this year and took up 
his residence there. 

In the Spring of 1792, while in the City of New York, I 
was tempted by the representations of a friend to visit Rich- 
mond, Va., for the purpose of seeking my fortune in that 
part of the Union. Finding after a short stay that the plans 
of my friend were not at all congenial with my habits of 
thinking and acting, I returned to the field of my former 
labors in Western New York. During the Summer I was 
engaged by Major Hoops, the agent of Robert Morris, in re- 
surveying lines and various tracts of land. 

In October of this year I was attacked with bilious fever 
and during my confinement was visited at Canandaigua by 
my brothers Joshua and Peter B. Porter, who then for the 
first time came to the ''Genesee country." With them, after 
my recovery, I returned to my father's, from where I went 
to Sufneld and passed the winter with Mr. Phelps in making 
out surveys. 

In the Spring of 1793 James Wads worth came to see me 
at Salisbury for the purpose of obtaining my services in ex- 
ploring a tract of land situated some fifty miles north of 
Schenectady, being part of what was known as the Totten & 
Crossfield tract, which in the rage for land speculation at 
that day, Mr. Wadsworth, James Watson of New York and 
others contemplated purchasing. Having agreed to make 
this exploration, I at once entered into it by proceeding with 
Mr. Wadsworth through Schenectady to the bend in the 
Sacondaga branch of the Hudson River, known by the name 
of "Johnson's fish house." On reaching this point we found 
so much snow as to prevent all progress in exploring, and 
Mr. Wadsworth therefore left me, with instructions to re- 
port the results of my examination to Mr. Watson in New 
York. As soon as the state of the weather would permit, I 
completed the examination and reported as directed. It is 
hardly necessary I should add that my report was in the 
highest degree unfavorable, and that the idea of Mr. Wads- 


worth and his friends of purchasing these lands, was at 
once abandoned. 

Mr. Watson however having in view the purchase of 
part of a tract owned by Walkins & Flint, situated between 
the south end of the Cayuga Lake and the Susquehanna 
River, agreed with me for an exploration of it, and also of a 
tract of some 10,000 acres lying in the neighborhood of Og- 
densburg on the St. Lawrena. In pursuance of this ar- 
rangement I left Salisbury with one man to accompany me 
on foot, and crossing the Hudson at Catskill, proceeded to 
Owego. The whole country at that time, between Owego 
and the head of Cayuga Lake, and for many miles north of 
it, was an unbroken wilderness. After completing this ex- 
ploration, I procured a canoe at the head of Cayuga Lake, 
and attended by a single assistant, started for Ogdensburg. 
We proceeded down the lake and outlet to Oswego, which 
was then a military post in possession of the English, who 
would not permit us to pass. As the land route from this 
place to Ogdensburg was an entire wilderness throughout, 
we abandoned the attempt to proceed further, and returned 
by water with the canoe to Schenectady. I went in person to 
New York to make my report to Mr. Watson. 

While in the city I witnessed an incident of a most ex- 
citing character growing out of the strong popular feeling 
then existing in the country in regard to the French Revo- 
lution, and to the war then pending between France and 
England. The French Republican frigate L' Ambuscade, 
which was lying at anchor near the Battery, received a chal- 
lenge from the English frigate Boston, then off Sandy Hook, 
to a combat. ; This challenge was promptly accepted by the 
Frenchman and the Ambuscade put to sea to meet her an- 
tagonist amid the cheers of assembled thousands, followed 
down the bay by numerous small craft filled with passengers, 
desirous of being spectators of the engagement. The meet- 
ing between the frigates took place in pursuance of the chal- 
lenge. But while they were warmly engaged the approach 
of a French squadron to the New York harbor compelled 
the Boston to withdraw from the contest, and make her 
escape. The French fleet entered the harbor and sailed up 


to their anchorage in the Hudson, accompanied by the Am- 
buscade, which vessel, bearing the marks of the recent hos- 
tile encounter, in tattered sails, wounded spars, etc., was an 
object that produced an enthusiasm bordering on frenzy 
among the multitude who had assembled on the Battery to 
greet her return. Shouts and cheers filled the air ; the Bat- 
tery was literally crammed with human beings. In the 
midst of these loud manifestations of sympathy for the 
French, an extraordinary excitement arose in one part of the 
crowd, the cause of which was soon apparent. A man was 
seen elevated above the heads of the multitude, over which 
he was passed as rapidly as possible, until he reached the en- 
closure at an adjoining street. Over this enclosure he was 
unceremoniously tossed among the boys and stragglers who 
pursued him with screams and jeers and all sorts of vile 
missiles, until he was out of sight. The offence which had 
brought on him this display of popular indignation was 
merely that in conversation with a fellow-citizen in the 
crowd, he had said the French were no match for the 
English in a sea fight on equal terms. These and similar 
manifestations of popular feeling produced the celebrated 
proclamation of President Washington, enjoining neutrality 
on the American people in the wars growing out of the 
French Revolution. 

After making my report to Mr. Watson I again turned 
my face toward the Genesee country and proceeded to Can- 
andaigua. I soon commenced the resurvey of townships for 
Mr. Phelps, which employment occupied me until fall, when 
I returned with him to Suffield and spent the winter in 
making out surveys and other matters connected with his 
land operations. 

In the Spring of 1794 I again returned to Canandaigua, 
and was employed during the whole season in making sur- 
veys of various tracts for Mr. Phelps. In the fall I again 
returned with him to Suffield, where I spent part of the 
winter, and the remainder with him in New York, where he 
effected his large land sale to DeWitt Clinton, and other 
large sales to other persons. 

During the Summer of 1794 the court house for Ontario 


County was erected at Canandaigua. Thaddeus Chapin 
came this year to Canandaigua. 

For several years previous to 1794 the United States had 
been at war with the Indians residing south and west of 
Lake Erie, and two of our armies, under St. Clair and 
Harmar, had been defeated. These successes of the Indians 
had excited among a portion of the Six Nations (who were 
encouraged in their disaffection towards this country by the 
British in Canada), a strong disposition to engage in a war 
against us. Our Government foreseeing the danger, ap- 
pointed commissioners to treat for peace with the Western 
Indians, and in the early part of 1793 strong efforts were 
made to hold a council with them at Sundusky, but owing 
to their late successes and the influence of the British noth- 
ing was effected. In the Spring of 1794 Gen. Wayne took 
the field and marched into the Indian country with an effi- 
cient army, to prosecute the war. 

During the Summer of 1794 Gen. Pickering had been 
appointed a commissioner to treat, and if possible to estab- 
lish a good understanding with the Six Nations. He met 
them at Canandaigua in September. At first they mani- 
fested much of the spirit of unfriendliness that had been 
evinced by the Western Indians the year before at Sandusky, 
and a favorable result seemed for a time quite doubtful, but 
better influences finally prevailed (of which the success of 
Wayne at the West was an important one), and a satisfac- 
tory treaty was concluded. 

In the Spring of 1795, I again left Suffield for Canan- 
daigua. At Salisbury I was joined by my brother Peter B. 
Porter, who had decided to settle at Canandaigua in the 
practice of the law. During this season I acted as agent for 
Mr. Phelps in the management and sale of his lands, and in 
surveying for him. In the latter part of August of this year 
I went to Presqu' Isle (now Erie, Pa.), in company with 
Judah Colt. At this time all that part of the State lying 
west of Phelps & Gorham's Indian purchase was still occu- 
pied by the Indians, their title to it being yet unextinguished. 
There was of course no road leading from Buffalo eastward 
except an Indian trail, and no settlement whatever on that 


trail. We traveled on horseback from Conewagus (now 
Avon) to Buffalo, and were two days in performing the 
journey. At Buffalo there lived a man named Johnson, a 
British Indian interpreter, also a Dutchman and his family 
by the name of Middaugh, and an Indian trader by the name 
of Winne. 

From Buffalo we proceeded to Chippewa, U. C, where 
we found Capt. William Lee, with a small row-boat, about 
to start for Presqu' Isle, and waiting only for assistance to 
row the boat. Mr. Colt, Mr. Joshua Fairbanks,* now of 
Lewiston, and myself joined him. Two days of hard row- 
ing brought us to that place, where we found surveyors en- 
gaged in laying out the village, now called Erie. Also a 
military company under the command of Gen. Irwin, ordered 
there by the Government of the State to protect the sur- 
veyors against the Indians. Col. Seth Reed (father of Rufus 
S. Reed and grandfather of Charles M. Reed) was there 
with his family, living in a marquee, having just arrived. 
A Mr. Reese was also there, acting as agent for the "Popu- 
lation Company," for selling and managing their lands, of 
whom Mr. Colt and I purchased 2,000 acres. We returned 
in the same boat to Chippewa, and from thence on horse- 
back by way of Queenston on the Indian trail through the 
Tonawanda Indian village to Canandaigua. 

During this expedition from Buffalo to Erie, a very re- 
markable circumstance presented itself to us, the like of 
which I had never before seen, nor have I since witnessed it. 
Before starting from Buffalo we had been detained there for 
two days by a heavy fall of rain, accompanied by a strong 
northeast gale. When off Cattaraugus Creek on our up- 

* Joshua Fairbanks arrived at Fort Niagara in 1791, from Geneva, having 
coasted along Lake Ontario. O. Turner has recorded an incident in Mr. Fair- 
banks's own words: "We made a short call at Fort Niagara, reporting ourselves 
to the commanding officer. He gave us a specimen of British civility, during 
the 'hold-over' after the Revolution. It was after a protracted dinner-sitting, I 
should think. He asked where I was going. I replied, to Chippewa. 'Go along 
and be d — d to you/ was his laconic verbal passport." Mr. Fairbanks kept a 
tavern for a time at Queenston, then settled at Lewiston, of which place he was 
a leading citizen for many years. He reestablished himself, after the ruin 
which the war had wrought, and in 1817 began a mercantile business in the 
firm of Fairbanks & Thompson. He was a school commissioner in 18 17, and in 
1835, was one of the incorporators of the Lewiston Railroad Company. 


ward passage, about one or two miles from land, we discov- 
ered some distance ahead a white strip on the surface of the 
lake, extending out from the shore as far as we could see. 
On approaching this white strip we found it to be five or six 
rods wide and its whole surface covered with fish of all the 
varieties common to the lake, lying on their sides, as if dead. 
On touching them however, they would dart below the sur- 
face but immediately rise again to their former position. 
We commenced taking them by hand, making our selections 
of the best, and finding them perfectly sound we took in a 
good number; indeed if we had desired we might have 
loaded our boat with them. On reaching Erie we had some 
of them cooked and found them perfectly good. The posi- 
tion of these fish on their sides in the water, placed their 
mouths partly above and partly below the surface, so that 
they seemed to be inhaling both water and air, for at each 
effort in inhaling bubbles would rise and float on the water. 
It was these bubbles that caused the white appearance on the 
lake's surface. I have supposed that these fish had from 
some cause, growing out of the extraordinary agitation of 
the lake by the gale from the eastward, and the sudden 
reflux of water from west to east after it subsided, been 
thrown together in this way, and from some unknown nat- 
ural cause had lost the power of regulating their specific 
gravity, which it is said they do, by means of an air bladder 
furnished them by nature. I leave it to others, however, to 
explain the phenomenon. 

During this season (1795) Nathaniel W. Howell of Can- 
andaigua and General Vincent Mathews, late of Rochester, 
first came to Canandaigua to attend court, their residence 
being at that time at Newtown, now Elmira. 

In 1796 I entered into an agreement with the Connecticut 
Land Company to superintend as chief surveyor, the survey 
of that part of Ohio called the Connecticut Reserve, which 
had been purchased the year before of the State of Connec- 
ticut by a company under that name. I was authorized to 
employ such number of surveyors and assistants and to pro- 
vide such articles of outfit for the expedition as were neces- 
sary. Early in April I commenced the work of preparation, 


Schenectady being the place of rendezvous. I employed as 
assistant surveyors Seth Pease, John M. Holley, Richard M. 
Stoddard, and Mr. Warren. Mr. Pease, a brother-in-law of 
the late Hon. Gideon Granger of Canandaigua, was an ac- 
complished mathematician and astronomer. Such a selection 
was deemed indispensable in consequence of the important 
duty to be performed, of ascertaining with accuracy the point 
where the 41st degree of north latitude intersected the west 
line of the State of Pennsylvania, that parallel being the 
south boundary of the reserve. Early in the Spring Mr. 
Pease was sent to Philadelphia to procure the necessary 
number of surveyors' compasses from the manufactory of 
the celebrated David Rittenhouse, whose instruments were at 
that time universally preferred; and to procure also such 
other instruments as the nature of our business required.* 
Having accomplished the object of his mission, he joined me 
at Albany, where I was engaged in other preparatory meas- 

Gen. [Moses] Cleaveland of Connecticut was employed 
by the company to act as the general agent to quiet all In- 
dian interference that might be offered in opening the land 
for sale as soon as a portion of it should be surveyed. 
Joshua Stow of Middletown was of our party, and was 
charged with the duty of superintending transportation. 
The number of persons who went forward from Schenectady 
in four batteaux, including surveyors and their crews, was 
about twenty. I assisted in fitting up the boats, and then 
left on horseback for Canandaigua. The party in charge 
of the boats proceeded without interruption or accident, ex- 
cept the loss of a man by drowning at Spraker's riff, until 
they arrived at Oswego. Here they were stopped by the 
English, who still held military possession of the post, in 
violation of the treaty of 1783, although the time was then 
near at hand when its evacuation was about to take place. 
As the happening of this event was a matter of uncertainty, 
the party were unwilling to await it. They therefore re- 

* The compass used by Augustus Porter in his surveys of Western New 
York and the Western Reserve of Ohio, 1789 to 1796, and his case of draught- 
ing instruments of the same period, are now in the possession of the Buffalo 
Historical Society. 


sorted to a strategem to pass the fort, in which they suc- 
ceeded. They withdrew a short distance up stream, appar- 
ently to await permission to pass. During the night, which 
was quite dark, they dropped down with such silence, that 
they cleared the fort unseen, and before daylight were out of 
sight on their way westward. On their arrival at Fort Ni- 
agara, however, no such detention took place, that post hav- 
ing within a day or two previous been given up.* 

On reaching Canandaigua I purchased a quantity of pork 
and flour for the expedition, and had it forwarded by way of 
Irondequoit, Niagara and Queenston, to Chippewa, from 
whence it was transported to the reserve. While at Canan- 
daigua, I purchased about ten pack-horses, and an equal 
number of pack-saddles, and about ten head of cattle for 
beef. I also hired a sufficient number of hands, in addition 
to those coming on in boats, to fit out our five surveying 
parties. The horses and cattle were taken on by these men 
to Buffalo, by the Indian trail. While here I was joined by 
Gen. Cleaveland from Connecticut, in company with whom 
I proceeded to Buffalo. Here a number of Indians had as- 
sembled, among whom were Brant, Farmer's Brother, and 
Red Jacket, for the purpose of presenting some, claim to the 
country we were going to survey. Gen. Cleaveland listened 
to the statement of their claim, but found very little diffi- 
culty in satisfying it after a day or two spent in council, by 
distributing among them about $2,000 worth of presents. 
Our boats from Schenectady, and our men with the cattle 
from Canandaigua, had in the meantime arrived. The 
whole expedition then moved on, a part of the men in boats, 
and the remainder with the cattle by land. 

That division of our party which proceeded west from 
Buffalo in boats, were two days in reaching Presqu' Isle. 

•If Fort Niagara was not in British hands when Judge Porter's expedition 
reached it, his men must have taken 28 or more days to make the journey from 
Oswego, which is not credible. Oswego — Fort Ontario — was first occupied by 
Americans on July 15, 1796. .Fort Niagara was not given up by the British 
until August nth. Detroit was relinquished by the British, July nth; while 
Mackinac did not pass into the hands of the Americans until October. It is 
probable that the main body of British troops — the Fifth Regiment — had with- 
drawn from Fort Niagara, before the arrival of the Porter boats, leaving a 
small detachment to await the coming of the American troops, who also came 
from Oswego. 


These boats, one of which I had charge of personally, were 
each managed by four men, and were of a burthen sufficient 
to carry about fourteen barrels. On the morning after our 
arrival at Presqu' Isle, a gale came on from the westward 
which detained us two or three days. By this time our 
horses and cattle, which had taken the land route, overtook 
us, and were sent on to the isthmus connecting the penin- 
sula with the main shore. The boats were also taken up to 
that point, during the gale. Here the boats were unloaded 
and dragged across into the lake above, by our men. From 
this place we reached Conneaut without further detention. 
On the 5th July all hands except myself and two or three 
others, commenced building a log house near the mouth of 
the creek, on the east side, which was in a very short time 
completed, and was large enough to receive all our provisions 
and stores, and to accommodate in a decent way the two men 
with their wives, and Gen. Cleaveland. 

After leaving Presqu' Isle we were without any knowl- 
edge of the country, except that we were informed at 
Presqu' Isle that the mouth of the Conneaut Creek was about 
three miles west of the west line of Pennsylvania. The 
directors of the land company had however furnished me 
before I left Connecticut, with an old French map of the 
southern coast of Lake Erie, on which the mouths of all the 
principal streams discharging into the lake were indicated 
with their names, as they are now known, namely, Conneaut, 
Ashtabula, Grand River, Chagrin, Cuyahoga, Rocky, Black, 
Vermillion and Huron, also the mouth of Sandusky Bay. 
The Pennsylvania line on the shore of the lake, I found with- 
out difficulty. A stone placed by Andrew Ellicott in 1786, 
was found so marked and engraved as to indicate that it was 
on the west line of Pennsylvania. The latitude on which it 
stood was something short of the parallel of 42 deg, about 
three minutes, if I recollect right. By reference to a map of 
Ohio or of Pennsylvania, it will be seen that the line inter- 
sects the 42d parallel in the lake a short distance from the 

We all arrived at the mouth of Conneaut Creek, in Ohio, 
on the 4th day of July, 1796, where we celebrated the day by 


the firing of muskets and drinking of toasts, not with wine 
in glasses, but with water seasoned with sugar and ginger, in 
tin cups. The whole party at this time consisted of 52 per- 
sons, two of whom were females. One was the wife of a 
Mr. Gun, who with her husband became settlers and passed 
their lives in the country. 

A day or two after our arrival we were visited by a small 
number of Indians who lived a short distance up the creek, 
with the chief of the little tribe by the name of Pogh-qua. 
These Indians also preferred claims, which Gen. Cleaveland 
satisfied, as at Buffalo, by distributing among them $500 or 
$600 worth of presents in dry-goods. They then conferred 
on the General a name which they intended as a high com- 
pliment, it being after their chief, Pogh-qua, the chief him- 
self presenting to him at the same time a pair of leggins, a 
pair of moccasins, and an Indian coat made of a blanket, 
which he frequently thereafter wore, and from his being a 
man of an uncommonly dark complexion, he was considered 
in appearance not a bad counterpart of his namesake. 

That part of the Western Reserve to which the Indian 
title had been extinguished by Wayne's Treaty in 1795 was 
bounded east by Pennsylvania, west by the Cuyahoga River, 
south by the parallel of latitude 41, and north by that of 42. 
Within these limits our surveys were confined, except that 
the important duty was assigned to me to ascertain and re- 
port (for reasons that will hereafter appear), the entire 
quantity of land in the whole reserve, the boundaries of 
which were given as follows: East by the Pennsylvania 
line ; west by a line 120 miles west therefrom, north by lati- 
tude 42, and south by latitude 41. It was known that these 
boundaries would include a portion of Lake Erie, and from 
circumstances I will mention hereafter the company desired 
that such surveys should be made, as would enable us to 
ascertain the quantity of land (not covered by water) em- 
braced. For this purpose it was necessary that the whole 
shore of the lake should be traversed from the east to the 
west bounds of the territory. This service I performed per- 
sonally, Gen. Cleaveland accompanying me. At this time 
there was not a white person residing on the reserve, ex- 


cepting a Frenchman who lived with the Indians at San- 
dusky Bay. 

In 1795, when the State of Connecticut sold this tract of 
country, three separate companies attended at Hartford, 
each with a view to purchase. Finding they could not oper- 
ate successfully as competitors, they entered into a compro- 
mise by w r hich two of the companies, one represented by 
Oliver Phelps, and the other by John Livingston, united in 
one and entered into an agreement with the third, repre- 
sented by Gen. William Hull, afterwards Governor of Michi- 
gan. By this compromise the first two companies (united) 
were to purchase the whole tract then offered for sale, which 
was the whole reserve, excepting a half million of acres of 
the extreme western part, which had been previously granted 
by the State to certain of its citizens whose property had 
been burned by the enemy during the Revolutionary War, 
and which were for that reason called the "fire lands/'* Gen. 
Hull's company were eventually to have all the lands thus 
purchased, over three millions of acres, at the average price 
of the whole. The two former thus united was called the 
Connecticut Land Company, the latter, the Excess Company. 
This shows why it became necessary to ascertain as early as" 
possible the whole quantity contained in the territory, that 
the Excess Company might know the quantity to which it 
was entitled. During the time the survey was going on, this 
supposed excess was divided into shares, and became the 
subject of sharp speculation, the number of shares being 
120. In one instance it was rumored that a single share was 
sold at a premium of $2,000. On the completion of the sur- 
vey it turned out that the Excess Company was not entitled 
to a single acre, and that the other purchasing company fell 
short some 200,000 acres of their quantity. 

In a few days after our arrival at Conneaut, the proper 
steps were taken to organize four surveying parties, each 
consisting of a surveyor and seven hands. This being ac- 
complished, we were to proceed south on the Pennsylvania 
line, our joint destination being the point on that line where 

* The name is perpetuated in various usages, e. g., the Firelands Pioneer, 
published at Norwalk, O., the Firelands Historical Society, etc. 


the 41st parallel meets it, and also the southeast corner of 
the Western Reserve. That point being ascertained, our 
plan was to proceed west on that parallel, and at the end of 
each six miles, start a surveyor on a meridian to the lake. 
In adopting this plan we were influenced by two reasons: 
first, because we considered this the more proper point from 
which to begin our surveys ; and second, because we might 
draw a considerable part of our supplies of provisions from 
the Ohio River, where we had been informed flour and 
bacon might be had, in any quantity and at reasonable 
prices, and if so, could be obtained much more easily than 
from Canandaigua, from whence we had not yet received 
sufficient for our wants. 

All things being thus arranged for a start, and while 
mustering our hands for service, we found a highly excited 
and mutinous spirit among them, which on inquiry was 
found to be what would now be termed a strike. The move- 
ment was one in which all united, and a compromise 
and settlement became unavoidable. With this view Gen. 
Cleaveland agreed with them that before the close of the 
season, and after some of the township lines had been run, a 
township should be selected and set apart, to be surveyed 
into lots, and that each individual of the party should at his 
election have the right of purchasing a lot on a credit at a 
stipulated price, which was I think, a dollar an acre. This 
settled the difficulty, all being satisfied. This township was 
in pursuance of this arrangement, set apart and called 
Euclid, which name I understand it yet bears. 

The adjustment as above having been made, the four 
parties started, there being four surveyors beside myself. 
On arriving at the Mahoning River, a branch of the Beaver, 
Mr. Pease and the others of the party continued down the 
line as before arranged, while I with three men and as many 
pack-horses, went down the Beaver to its mouth, where 
was a place then called Fort Macintosh, for provisions. At 
this place none were to be had, but we were informed that 
any quantity could be obtained at a place called Washington, 
about twelve miles below, on the Virginia side of the Ohio. 
We therefore provided ourselves with a large canoe, and 


proceeded down to that place, where we succeeded in getting 
a quantity of flour to load our horses, but no more. We 
could get no meat. 

We returned to the place where we had parted from Mr. 
Pease, and continued up the Mahoning, or near it until we 
arrived at the old salt works, said to have been occupied 
several years before by the distinguished Revolutionary gen- 
eral Samuel Holder Parsons, by permission of the Governor 
of Connecticut. General Parsons, it will be remembered, 
was drowned in the rapids of the Beaver, while descending 
that river in a boat, and that at the time of his death he held 
under a commission from Congress the office of Presiding 
Judge of the old Northwestern Territory. 

At these salt works we found a small piece of open 
ground, say two or three acres, a plank vat of about sixteen 
or eighteen feet square, and four or five feet deep set in the 
ground which was filled with water and salt kettles. An 
Indian and squaw were here in the act of boiling water for 
salt, but from appearance, with but poor success. 

We had been at this place but a short time when Mr. 
Pease and his party joined us. Mr. Pease had fixed the 
southeast corner of the Reserve, and had run a line due 
west therefrom 24 miles, having at the end of each six miles 
started a surveyor with his party due north for the lake, as 
had been proposed, he being himself with the party running 
the fourth and last meridian, which crossed the Indian trail 
we were on, less than a mile west of the salt works, and 
from five to eight miles north of the 41st parallel. On 
reaching the trail, finding from its appearance that we had 
not yet passed, he followed it eastward for the purpose of 
meeting us, and did meet us at the spring, less than a mile 
from his meridian line. This meeting was an important 
matter with Mr. Pease, for he had delivered over to the 
other surveyors all the provisions except a very small supply, 
estimated to be sufficient to subsist on until my return from 
the south. This scanty supply was all exhausted, when our 
meeting took place, and this brought to them flour only. 
Most fortunately for us, however, we found the same after- 
noon one of the finest bee-trees I ever saw. We at once en- 


camped, cut down the tree and gathered the honey. Having 
eaten to our satisfaction, each man rilled his canteen. What 
remained was put into the flour-bags and mixed up with the 
flour, ready to be baked into sweet cakes at our next place 
of encampment. From this time we were about ten days 
reaching the lake, during which, except while the honey 
lasted, we subsisted on flour alone. Of course our route 
northerly was on Mr. Pease's meridian. On our arrival at 
the lake we followed the beach eastwardly for headquarters 
at Conneaut, and what was quite remarkable, on our way 
there we fell in with all three of the other parties, who had 
brought their lines to the lake, and all arrived at the same 
time at Conneaut. 

During our absence the house at this place had been 
completed, and General Cleaveland had held his conference 
with the Indians, as has already been stated. In a day or 
two, four surveying parties were started to run east and 
west lines, six miles from each other, from the Pennsylvania 
line to continue west until they should reach the Cuyahoga 
River. At the same time, taking with me the necessary 
number of men and supplies, with a batteau to accompany 
us along the coast, I commenced the traverse of the lake 
shore, for the purposes already stated. This party con- 
sisted of Gen. Cleaveland, Joshua Stow, Doctor Shepard, 
and Joseph Landon (who afterward settled in Buffalo, 
where he lived many years), together with three other men. 
On our way west we encamped one night near the mouth of 
Ashtabula Creek — I think west of it, but how far I cannot 
say. The next morning, the weather being calm and the 
lake perfectly smooth, we discovered bubbles rising rapidly 
on the surface, some two or three rods from the shore, very 
much as would be produced by the discharge of air from the 
bunghole of a cask filling with water. The suspicion occur- 
ring to us that it might be inflammable gas issuing from the 
bottom, we lighted a torch and applying it to the spot, the 
gas took fire, thus confirming the fact. The depth of the 
water was about two feet. On a beech tree directly opposite 
we noted the circumstance by a suitable inscription. 

In making this traverse, Mr. Stow acted as flagman, and 


was constantly always in the advance of others. Rattle- 
snakes were very plenty and he was the first to encounter 
them, which he did by killing them. I had mentioned to him 
a circumstance which had once happened to me, and whicli 
was that I had with two or three others, been three days in 
the woods without provisions, during which time we had 
killed a rattlesnake, which on being dressed and nicely 
cooked we had eaten with a high relish ; but whether it was 
enjoyed as such from the delicacy and richness of the meat, 
or from the craving state of our stomachs, I could not say. 
Mr. Stow was a very healthy, active man, fond of woods 
life and its adventures, and determined to adopt all the prac- 
tices of such a life, even to the eating of snakes. During 
almost every day while on the lake shore he killed and 
swung about his person from two to six large rattlesnakes, 
and at night a part or all were dressed, cooked and eaten 
by the party, all partaking, I believe, except Gen. Cleaveland, 
and all seeming to relish them, probably more from their 
being fresh, while our meat was all salt. 

In making this traverse of the south shore of Lake Erie, 
it will be borne in mind, its object was to ascertain the entire 
area of the Western Reserve. To do this, it was necessary 
for us to penetrate some fifty miles into the Indian country, 
the Cuyahoga River being at that time its eastern boundary. 
In proceeding west, therefore, from the mouth of that river, 
the traversing party under my direction and lead, was ac- 
companied coastwise by our boat, which contained our pro- 
visions, etc., and which would always afford us the means of 
escape in case we should be attacked by hostile Indians. We 
passed on however without any such interruption. Indeed 
we saw no Indians until we reached the western point at the 
mouth of Sandusky Bay. Here, near the site of an immense 
burial place we encountered a party of some twenty or 
thirty. Of their disposition toward us we could only judge 
from their manner, which appeared to us anything but 
friendly and conciliating. They examined our instruments 
very closely and minutely, and with apparently gloomy jeal- 
ousy and disapprobation. 

Being now very near the western boundary of the Re- 


serve, as shown by my traverse, we pushed on as rapidly as 
possible (after a short interview with the Frenchman, from 
whom, owing to the want of a community of language wc 
could learn nothing satisfactory) until we reached the point 
of our western destination, viz. : the western limit of the 
Reserve, which we found to be a short distance beyond Hat 
Island. Here, after setting our land-mark with all possible 
dispatch, we embarked in our boat, and giving the land a 
wide berth we held our way for the mouth of the Cuyahoga 
direct without touching at any intermediate point. 

Soon after my arrival there I laid out by direction of 
Gen. Cleaveland a mile square of land into streets, etc., on 
which now stands the city bearing his name. After this, I 
began the traverse of the Cuyahoga River, with a view to 
ascertain the treaty line of Wayne, which was the Cuyahoga 
River up to the portage, and thence by the portage to the 
Tuscarawas branch of the Muskingum. This portage, 
which was nothing more than an Indian trail, I was unable 
to find. At best it must have been very indistinct, and was 
rendered entirely so by the leaves of autumn which had re- 
cently fallen. I traversed the river, however, until I found I 
had proceeded too far northerly for the intersection of the 
portage, and then gave up my search. This river, as will be 
seen by reference to correct maps, has its source in a latitude 
north of its mouth. Some ten or fifteen miles up the river 
from its mouth on the west side we found standing a log 
house of considerable size, evidently built by white people, 
about which there was however, no clearing. I understood 
at the time, from what source I am unable to say, that it was 
erected and occupied for some time by Heckewelder the 

Shortly after my return to Cuyahoga River from San- 
dusky, as before stated, Gen. Cleaveland left us to return 

•This was probably the cabin which was built in 1761 by the missionary 
Christian Frederick Post. In 1762 Post and John Heckewelder occupied it. 
Heckewelder has left a most graphic account of his lonely and dangerous so- 
journ there, and of its final abandonment. He describes it as standing "on 
the east side of the Muskingum, about four rods from the stream," and a mile 
or more north of the Indian town Tuscarawas. This would indicate that it 
stood on the Tuscarawas branch of the Muskingum, and accords with Judge 
Porter's narrative. 


home. He went down to Chippewa in one of our batteaux, 
in charge of Mr. Tinker who was then on his second or third 
trip after supplies. On our return from our survey of the 
Cuyahoga River to its mouth, we learned that Tinker, while 
on his trip up, had been driven ashore near the mouth of 
Chautauque Creek, now Portland, his boat stove, cargo lost 
and himself drowned. This accident was in its consequences 
very serious to us, as it cut off our supply of provisions too 
late in the season for us to hope for another, and we were 
consequently obliged to leave the country some weeks earlier 
than we intended. We left Cuyahoga as late, I should think, 
as the later part of October or first of November, in two 
boats, with perhaps ten or fifteen men in each. I recollect 
that in passing out of the mouth of the river, all hands were 
obliged to get into the water, to take the boats over the sand- 

During the early part of the season, say some time in 
July or August, a Mr. Kingsbury came with his family into 
the country and I believe continued to reside there, and be- 
came a judge of one of the earliest counties formed on the 
Reserve. Gen. Paine also came, and selected and purchased 
a farm near the Grand River. Nathan Perry purchased near 
the Chagrin, and afterward settled near the mouth of Black 

I have already remarked that our western posts were 
this year surrendered by the British, and taken possession of 
by our troops, under the stipulations of Jay's treaty. The 
provisions to supply our troops at Detroit, had been fur- 
nished by Gen. O'Hara, late of Pittsburg, and by him trans- 
ported to Detroit on pack horses by way of Fort Macintosh, 
up the Big Beaver, by Parson's salt spring, Sandusky and 
Maumee. A horse branded with his name we found a little 
east of the salt spring, having a bell on, which was no doubt 
one of his that had strayed. 

In the fall of 1796 I returned to Suffield and spent most 
of the winter in making up my surveys and maps of the Re- 
serve, and in closing up my business with the Connecticut 
Land Company, having concluded not to remain longer in 
their service, although they were very desirous I should. 


But as I had now a family, and had spent most of my time 
for seven years in the fatigues and hardships of a woods 
life, I determined to settle at Canandaigua and accept the 
agency offered me by Mr. Phelps of his land business. In 
accordance with this determination, in the latter part of 
February, 1797, I left Suffield with my family in a sleigh 
for Canandaigua, where I arrived early in March. I imme- 
diately entered into the service of Mr. Phelps, in settling 
and surveying his lands, and in collecting his debts. One of 
the first acts of my agency was to sell three or four farms on 
the road leading north toward Farmington. In running 
them out, as it was necessary I should, I caught a severe 
cold in the swamps, through which I was obliged to make 
my way by wading. From this circumstance I date the com- 
mencement of my deafness, which has since so much af- 
flicted me. 

During the winter of 1797 Gideon King and Zadok 
Granger, two of the proprietors of the tract of 20,000 acres 
in the north part of the township, one short range, which in- 
cluded the land on which Rochester now stands, and two or 
three other families from Sufneld, had gone to the tract and 
commenced thereon a settlement. Mr. Phelps, my brother 
Peter B., and myself were also proprietors. The southern 
part of this township, being about 4,000 acres, was included 
in Mr. Phelps's great sale to DeWitt Clinton. It was sub- 
sequently sold, subject to the mortgage given by Mr. Clinton 
for the purchase money, and eventually passed through the 
hands of Charles Williamson to the Pultney estate. This 
20,000 acre tract was sold originally by Phelps & Gorman 
in 1790, to a company of gentlemen of Springfield and 
Northampton, Mass., among whom were Ebenezer Hunt, 
Quartus Pomeroy, and Justin Ely. The tract was bounded 
north and west by the north and west lines of the township, 
east by the Genesee River, and south by a line parallel with 
the north line, and so far distant therefrom as to contain 
20,000 acres, excepting and reserving therefrom 100 acres 
which had been previously sold to Ebenezer Allan, for the 
purpose of erecting a mill thereon, which 100 acres were to 
be located in as near a square form as the windings of the 


river would permit, commencing at the center of the mill, 
and extending an equal distance up and down the river, then 
back so far as to contain the ioo acres in the above form. 
This tract of ioo acres was purchased of Ebenezer Allan by 
Charles Williamson in behalf of the Pultney estate, by whom 
it was subsequently sold to Col. Rochester and others. The 
Allan mill stood very near where the Erie Canal aqueduct 
now crosses the Genesee River. The lines of this 20,000 
acres had been run by Frederick Saxton, in the summer of 
1790. It may not be uninteresting to state here that this 100 
acres embraces the most densely and valuably built part of 
the city of Rochester; that all the present titles within it 
are derived from Allan, who never himself had any other 
known paper title than that which is derived by implication 
from the exception above mentioned in Phelps & Gorham's 
deed to the Springfield & Northampton Company. 

In May of this year 1797, I went to this 20,000 acre 
tract, and after first running out the Allan 100 acres, ac- 
cording to the description above given, proceeded to survey 
it into farm lots, excepting a portion about Hanford's land- 
ing, which was laid into village lots. 

This year as has before been stated Robert Morris pur- 
chased the Indian title to all the lands to which he had pre- 
viously purchased the preemptive right of the State of 
Massachusetts, lying west of Genesee River, excepting 
twelve separate tracts which the Indians reserved, known 
by the following names, viz. : Caneadea, Gardeau, Squakie 
Hill, Little Beard's, Big Tree, Conewagus, Tonawanda, Tus- 
carora, BufTalo, Cattaraugus, Alleghany and Seneca Oil 

The treaty held by Mr. Morris for the purchase of these 
lands was concluded the latter part of August. Major 
Hoops,* the agent of Mr. Morris, engaged me to make as 
speedily as possible such surveys as were necessary in order 
to ascertain the whole quantity of lands, to which he had 
purchased the preemptive right. On the first of September 
I left home, accompanied by Mr. Joseph Ellicott. We com- 
menced the survey on the south shore of Lake Ontario, 

* Adam Hoops, the founder of Hamilton, now Olean, N. Y. 


twelve miles west of the mouth of the Genesee River, at the 
northwest corner of the mill-seat tract, from thence along the 
shore of said lake, west to Niagara River, up that river on 
the east side to Lake Erie, and along the south shore of that 
lake to the northeast corner of the Presqu' Isle triangle. The 
east line of this triangle to the old north line of Pennsyl- 
vania, as well as the said north line to the southwest corner 
of Phelps & Gorham's Indian purchase, had been formerly 
established, as well as the whole western boundary of said 
Indian Purchase. The data were thus obtained by which to 
ascertain the whole quantity purchased by Mr. Morris. After 
making the calculation I prepared a copy which I delivered 
to Major Hoops. The original I retained until 1813, when 
it was burned with other papers when my house was de- 
stroyed by an invading British force. Owing to this circum- 
stance I am unable to give the quantity. 

During the summer of 1798 I was engaged in surveying 
at the instance of Joseph Ellicott, the agent of the Holland 
Land Company. I surveyed this year the Indian reserva- 
tions at Caneadea, Squakie Hill, Little Beard's Town, Big 
Tree, Conewagus, Buffalo and Cattaraugus. 

The winter of ijcfc-'gc) I spent at Canandaigua except 
that I made a journey to Albany in January, and another to 
Salisbury in February. 

On returning to Canandaigua after completing the sur- 
vey for Robert Morris, in company with Mr. Joseph Ellicott, 
we travelled down the lake to Buffalo, chiefly on the beach, 
there being no road, and as yet none other than an Indian 
trail from Buffalo to Conewagus, now Avon. There was 
then (1797) but one dwelling house between the two places, 
which was owned by a Mr. Wilber. It was situated at the 
point where Mr. John Ganson afterward built a large house 
and kept a tavern many years, and is about one and a half 
miles east of LeRoy. 

In 1800 I built a dwelling-house in Canandaigua, oppo- 
site the Academy, in which I resided until the year 1806, 
when on removing with my family to Niagara Falls, I sold 
it to John Greig, Esq., by whom it was occupied many years. 
Here at Niagara Falls, except during the War of 1812, I 


have continuously resided. In 1813 an invasion by the Brit- 
ish troops took place, which resulted in laying all the settle- 
ments on the frontier, Buffalo included, in ashes. My 
dwelling, mill, etc., at Niagara Falls, shared in the common 
desolation. The alleged justification of this system of war- 
fare was the burning of Newark, now Niagara, U. C, by 
the troops of the United States under the command of Gen. 
George McClure, on his evacuating Fort George, a few 
weeks previous. 

During the last years of my residence at Canandaigua I 
was interested with Mr. Phelps and Nathaniel and Birdseye 
Norton in a contract with the United States for the supply 
of provisions to the garrisons of Niagara, Detroit, Mack- 
inaw, Chicago and Fort Wayne. This connection with Mr. 
Phelps continued indeed until his death, which occurred in 
the winter of 1809. In 18 10 I took this contract in my own 
name, and supplied the above posts until 18 13, except during 
the period of their occupation by the enemy after the surren- 
der of Detroit by Gen. Hull. These transactions led to my 
early connection with the commerce of the lakes. . 

Early Navigation on the Lakes.* 

I have resided in Western New York since the spring of 
1789, and on the Niagara River since the spring of 1806. I 
first visited Lake Erie and the Niagara River in August, 
1795 ; and from an early period, until within the last twenty 
years, have been more or less interested in the navigation of 
the Lakes. 

It is well known that the military posts of Oswego, 
Niagara, Detroit and Mackinac were not surrendered to 
the United States until the fore part of the year 1796, under 
Jay's treaty. Boats had not been permitted to pass Oswego 
into Lake Ontario, and as no settlements of importance had 
been made previous to that time on the American shores of 

* Judge Porter's reminiscences of early navigation on the Lakes were pub- 
lished in the Buffalo Commercial Advertiser, Mch. 27, 1846. For the sake of 
completeness they are here appended to the foregoing narrative. No other his- 
torical writings by him are known. 


the Lakes (excepting the old French settlements in the 
neighborhood of these ports, and they were under the juris- 
diction and influence of the British Government), no vessels 
were required and of course none had been built. 

In August, 1795, I left Canandaigua, in company with 
Mr. Judah Colt, on a journey to Presqu' Isle, now Erie, Pa., 
where Mr. Colt afterwards settled. The country west of the 
Genesee River, excepting a tract twelve miles in width ex- 
tending from opposite Avon along the river to its mouth, 
had not then been purchased of the Indians, and no roads 
opened. We of course followed the Indian trail to Buffalo. 
At that time the only residents at that place, as far as I 
recollect, were William Johnson, the British Indian inter- 
preter, whose house stood on the site of the present Mansion 
House, an Indian trader named Winnee,* a negro named 
Joe, also a trader, both of whom resided on the flats, near the 
mouth of Little Buffalo, and a Dutchman by the name of 
Middaugh, with a family, who resided some forty or fifty 
rods east of Johnson's. A large portion of the ground now 
occupied by your beautiful city was then an unbroken wil- 

By advice of Mr. Johnson, we concluded to go down to 
Chippewa, Upper Canada, to take passage in a small sail and 
row-boat, owned by Captain William Lee, with which he had 
made several voyages to Presqu' Isle, where settlements 
were just commencing, and had taken up the family of Col. 
Reed, the father of Rufus G. Reed. Capt. Lee had no crew 
engaged, and only made trips when he could obtain pas- 
sengers enough able and willing to work their passage. 

Mr. Colt, Mr. Joshua Fairbanks of Lewiston, and myself 
joined Capt. Lee. Leaving our horses at Chippewa, we set 
out on our voyage and reached our destination in safety. 
We found several families commencing their settlement of 
Erie, and a party of surveyors laying out the town, under 
the protection of a company of Pennsylvania militia com- 
manded by Gen. Irvin of Carlisle. While we remained we 
shared the hospitalities of Col. Reed in his marquee, his 
house not being ready to occupy. Without entering into 

* Cornelius Winne or Winney. 


further details, I will merely add that we had a safe and 
pleasant passage back to Chippewa, and Mr. Colt and myself 
crossed the Niagara at Queenston on our return home. 

I am not aware that at that time a single vessel was 
owned on the United States side of the Lakes, and remem- 
ber that Capt. Lee, who would have known, informed me 
that there were none. 

In 1796, I was employed by the Connecticut Land Com- 
pany, to survey the Western Reserve, and I prepared to go 
on early in the season with several other surveyors and a 
party of men to perform the work. At Schenectady we 
fitted out three batteaux manned with four hands each, with 
the necessary articles for the expedition, such as tents, 
blankets, cooking utensils, groceries, etc., with a quantity of 
dry goods, designed as presents to the Indians. 

These boats were put under the care of Joshua Stow, 
uncle of Judge Stow of Buffalo. Understanding that the 
military posts of Oswego and Niagara were to be given up 
to the United States early this Spring, under a stipulation in 
Jay's treaty, Mr. Stow took the route by Oswego and Niag- 
ara to Queenston. On his arrival at Oswego, that fort had 
not been surrendered, and the boats were not permitted to 
pass. Determined not to be delayed, Mr. Stow took the 
boats a mile or two up the river, and the night following run 
them past the fort into the lake, and pursued his voyage, 
and before arriving at Niagara that post had passed into the 
possession of our troops. He landed at Queenston, had his 
boats and loading taken to Chippewa, where he took in pro- 
visions to complete his cargoes, which had been purchased at 
Canandaigua and forwarded by the way of Irondequoit and 
the lake in open boats and arrived a day or two before. 

At Buffalo he was met by others of the party who had 
come on by land, among these, Gen. Moses Cleaveland, one 
of the directors of the Connecticut Land Company, (from 
whom the city of Cleveland took its name), who by way of 
securing the good will of the Indians to the expedition, held 
a council and distributed presents among them. The expe- 
dition went on from here, a part by the boats, and a part by 
land with pack-horses, and arrived at the mouth of Con- 


neaut Creek on the 4th day of July, 1796, and celebrated the 
day. The party then consisted of fifty-two persons. 

No American vessel had yet been built, and some of the 
baggage and stores for the troops at Detroit had been trans- 
ported from Western Pennsylvania, by the contractor, Gen. 
O'Hara, up the valley of the Big Beaver, and through the 
wilderness to Detroit, on pack-horses. 

The first American craft that I know of, as navigating 
Lake Ontario, was a Schenectady batteau, fitted out for a 
trading expedition to Canada, in 1789, by John Fellows of 
Sheffield, Mass., its cargo mostly tobacco and tea. On ar- 
riving in the Oswego River he ascertained that he would not 
be permitted to pass the British post at Oswego, and he 
manifested no little resolution and enterprise in overcoming 
the difficulty. He took his boat up the Canandaigua outlet, 
to what is now Clyde, where he built a small log house (long 
known as the block house) to store his goods until he cleared 
out a sled road to Sodus Bay, whither he transported boat 
and goods and pursued his voyage, and by the aid of some 
secret friends disposed of his cargo to great advantage, and 
brought his boat back into Irondequoit Creek and sold it to 
a man by the name of Lusk, who had that year begun a set- 
tlement at that place. 

In 1798 a small schooner of thirty tons, in which I had an 
interest, was built at Hanford's Landing, on the Genesee 
River, about three miles below Rochester, by Eli Granger, 
and called the Jemima. 

Between the years 1796 and 1800 (I am unable to par- 
ticularize the year) the schooner General Tracy was built at 
Detroit, and in August, 1808, purchased by Porter, Barton & 
Co. and thoroughly repaired, and on her second or third trip 
was wrecked on the Fort Erie reef in 1809.* 

* The first vessel bearing the American flag which floated on Lake Erie 
was the sloop Detroit, of 70 guns, bought of the Northwest Company by the 
General Government in 1796, but soon condemned as unsea worthy. In the 
same year a small schooner, the Erie Packet, was built in Canada to run between 
Fort Erie and Presqu' Isle (Erie, Pa.). She was lost near the latter place the 
same year. The schooner Wilkeson, which, as Judge Porter says, was built at 
Detroit — one authority says in 1797 — navigated the lake for some years. In 
1810 or 181 1 she was overhauled and her name changed to the Amelia. In 1812 
she was bought by the Government and formed part of Perry's squadron in the 


The brig Adams, a Government vessel, was built about 
the same time as the General Tracy, and was sailed by Capt. 
Brevoort for a number of years. She was built at Detroit. 

A small vessel called the Good Intent was built at 
Presqu' Isle by Capt. William Lee, and I believe was partly, 
and perhaps wholly, owned by Rufus S. Reed. She I think 
was built about 1800 and wrecked near Point Abino in 1805. 

In 1802 or 1803 the schooner General Wilkeson of 70 
tons was built at Detroit, and in 181 1 thoroughly repaired 
and her name changed to Amelia. One half of her was pur- 
chased of Solomon Sibley by Porter, Barton & Co. in 181 1. 
She was sold to the United States during the war. 

In the winter of i8o2-'3 the sloop Contractor of 64 tons 
was built at Black Rock by the company having the Govern- 
ment contract for the supply of the military posts, under the 
superintendence of Capt. William Lee, by whom she was 
sailed until 1809, and afterwards by Capt. James Beard. In 
1803 or 1804 a small sloop called the Niagara, of 30 tons, 
was built at Cayuga Creek, on the Niagara River, by the 
United States Government, but not put in commission. She 
was purchased by Porter, Barton & Co. in 1806, and her 
name changed to the Nancy, and sailed by Capt. Richard 

In 1806 the schooner Mary, of 105 tons, was built at 
Erie by Thomas Wilson, and purchased, the one half by 
James Rough and George Bueshler, and the other half by 
Porter, Barton & Co., in 1808, and sailed by Capt. Rough 
until the war, and then sold to the United States. 

In 1808, Porter, Barton & Co. purchased the schooner 
Ranger, then several years old, of George Wilber. She was 
repaired and sailed by Capt. Hathaway. In 1810 the sloop 
Erie was built at Black Rock, by Porter, Barton & Co. and 
sold to the LTnited States in time of the war. The schooner 

battle of Lake Erie. The schooner Good Intent, 35 tons, was built in 1800 and 
lost on Point Abino in 1805, with all her crew. In 1799 the brig Adams and 
schooner Tracy were built by the Government. The Adams was taken by the 
British in 1812, and afterwards retaken and burnt. In 1S10 the schooner 
Catharine was built by S. Thompson and others, at Black Rock; she was bought 
by the Government and was in the battle of Lake Erie under the name of the 
Somers. Up to the declaration of war, 1812, there were not over fifteen sailing 
vessels on Lake Erie. 


Salina, sailed by Capt. Dobbins, and the schooner Eleanor, 
and probably others that I do not now recollect, were built 
and sailed before the war, but I am unable to say where and 
when they were built, or by whom owned. 

Messrs. Rufus S. Reed, Bixby & Murray, of Erie, and 
others whose names I do not recollect, built and owned 
vessels on the lake. Mr. Reed was largely interested in 
transporting over to Waterford and Pittsburgh. 

On Lake Ontario, I find that previous to 1809, and dur- 
ing that year, the following vessels had been built, and were 
engaged in the commerce of the lake : 

Schooner Fair American, owned by Matthew McNair 
of Oswego, Theophilus Pease, master; schooner Lark, I. 
Goodwin, master; schooner Island Packet, Wm. Howell, 

master; schooner Eagle, Baldwin, master; schooner 

Mary, Edward M. Tyler, master; schooner Farmer, Samuel 
Carver, master ; schooner Two Brothers, A. Bennet, master ; 
schooner Experiment, C. Holmes, master; schooner Demo- 

Some time previous to the war [181 2] the United States 
brig Oneida was built and commanded by Capt. Woolsey. 

In 1809 the schooner Ontario of 70 tons was built by 
Porter, Barton & Co. at Lewiston, and sold to the United 
States during the war. 

In 1809 tne schooner Cambria was built on an island at 
the lower end of Lake Ontario, and brought in an unfinished 
state to Lewiston, where she was purchased and fitted out by 
Porter, Barton & Co., and her name changed to Niagara. 

In addition to the foregoing vessels the following were 
in commission in 1810: Schooner Diana, A. Montgomery, 
master ; sloop Marion, schooner Charles & Ann, Gold 
Hunter, and Genesee Packet. Messrs. Matthew McNair, 
Townsend, Bronson & Co., Thomas H. Wentworth, and 
Capt. Eagle, were the principal owners and forwarders on 
Lake Ontario previous to the war. 

A number of vessels on both lakes, owned and armed 
during the war by the United States, were afterwards sold 
and employed in the commerce of the Lakes. 


With one exception the originals of the following letters are in 
the possession of the Buffalo Historical Society, all but the last two 
having been preserved with the Holland Land Company's papers. 
The letter to Myron Holley (Niagara Falls, Jan. 3, 181 7) was pub- 
lished with the report of the Canal Commissioners for 181 7. In 
connection with the preceding autobiographical narrative, and Mr. 
Robinson's admirable review of Judge Porter's career, the publica- 
tion of these letters — until now, unprinted — may be welcomed. They 
appear as written, correction or annotation being uncalled for. 

[no place] 
Mr. Joseph Ellicott 

Sir: If you should not procure the provisions which you are 
wanting on the terms which you now propose, and should conclude 
to employ some person to purchase and put it up, I will undertake the 
business for you at one dollar per bbl, of purchasing, putting up in 
good order and transporting to the different places as you may direct, 
you to pay all expences which shall accrue excepting my own time — 
or if you should wish to purchase Oxen, Horses or any thing of that 
kind in this Country-, you will please to give me directions if you 
think proper & I will faithfully attend to the business. 
I am Sir your Obt 

Servt. Augs Porter. 

Nov. 29th, 1797. 

Buffalow Creek Oct. 15th 1798. 
Dear Sir: I arived at this place last Evening from Kateragus, 
having completed the Reservation at that place, on my arrival I re- 
cieved your letter dated at this place, and shall immediately attend 
to its contents, am very sorry that I did not arive in time to have 
made out the Maps & field notes to forward by Mr. Barker the 
bearer, but suppose there will be no difficulty in finding opportunities 
hereafter. I am Sir with due Respect 

Your Obedient Servt. 

Aug's Porter. 
Joseph Ellicott, Esq. 

Buffalo Creek, Oct. 16, 1708. 
Dear Sir: Inclosed is a map and survey of the Kateragus Res- 
ervation. By the survey you will find that one of the north south 
lines is not run a due north as was directed, but that it varies 25 to 
East, this was occasioned by an alteration of variation of the needle 
on the line to which the above line was to run parallel too, but this 


error was so small that I concluded (by the advise of Mr. Thomp- 
son) not to correct it, but to lay off as much land on the north side 
of the tract as was excluded by this error. Otherwise I the Survey 
is exactly agreeably to orders, containing the exact quantity of acres, 
as I run the closeing line (which was the north eight mile line) 
through and corrected it back. 

I shall tomorrow begin the survey of the Reservation at this 
place, having this moment received your letter of this day's date by 
Capt Johnston, every part of which I shall endeavor to attend 
strictly to. 

I shall agreeably to your request forward by the same convey- 
ance which conveys this, a line to my brother respecting Mr. Stod- 
dard's traverse of the road. And 

Remain, Sir with respect 

Your Obt. Servt, 
_ Aug's Porter. 

Joseph Ellicott, Esq. 

Canandarque Nov. 17, 1799 
Messrs. Clark & Street. 

The Bearer Mr. Landon is employed by me to take on some 
Loading from Niagara to Presqu' Isle ; should be glad to have your 
assistance in sending it from Queenston to Ft. Erie, or perhaps he 
may only want your aid to deliver it at Chippawa. If you will give 
him such assistance as he may want, in forwarding his loading to 
Presque Isle, I will account to you for the expense & trouble on re- 
ceiving your bill by Mr. Landon. I will also request you to send me 
your bill for transportation of loading last July — which shall be paid 
on receiving the Bills. 

I am, Sirs, your 

Obt. Servt. 

Aug's Porter. 

_ Canandarque, March 25th 1802. 

Sir : The republicans in this county are determined to support 
at the ensuing Election for Members of Assembly, persons professing 
republican sentiments, and in conformity with this determination 
have pick'd on yourself as a proper person to be supported, and have 
requested me to write you on the subject, and know if you will suffer 
yourself to be considered as a candidate. In forming your deter- 
mination on this subject, I believe you may do it with the fullest 
assurance of success in case [?you] are run. I therefore hope and 
request that you will not refuse. You will be so good as to give me 
an answer on the subject as soon as may be. 

I am, sir, with esteem, Yours respectfully, 

Aug's Porter. 
Mr. J. Ellicott. 

Albany. March 7th 1803 
Dear Sir: I have this day written to Col . Fish proposing to 
him whether it might not be best, for yourself, and him, and his 
friends to enter into a compromise relative to the organization of 
your County. 


As this is soon to take place & as unanimity is important in your 
County I would sugest to you whether if he should come forward 
and make some proposals to you relative to a compromise whether 
you had not better relinquish a part of your arrangement, and suffer 
him to participate in some of the Offices of the County. 

Mr. Phelps is in this place and informs me that a short time be- 
fore he left home he had the pleasure of seeing you at Canandaigua, 
where it was agreed that you was to be one of the Candidates for 
member of Assembly at the next election. To this I most cordially 
concur and will thro' the little influence which I have into the scale 
to promote your Election. 

I this day received the petition of the Supervisors of the County 
of Ontario to be authorized to raise money to build a bridge across 
Genesee River, it has come rather late in the session but I shall if 
possible get a law passed, giving them that power. 

A statement by Judge Livingston of the trial of the Indian at 
Canandarque has been laid before the house of Assembly this day, 
and no doubt from what passed but he will be pardoned. 

Nothing very' important has been done by the Legislature this 
Session, we go on very harmoniously with very little opposition from 
the Feds, as they are in the Senate only as about one, to two Re- 
publicans, and in the Assembly, as about one to four. 

I am Sir respectfully your obedient Servt 

Aug's Porter. 
J. Ellicott, Esq. 

Canandarque, April 21st, 1803. 
Dear Sir : I wrote you a few days since that Polidon B. Wisner, 
with others, would be supported in this quarter for member of As- 
sembly. Since that time the republicans in this quarter have agreed 
to support John Swift in place of Wisner. I hope it may suit you to 
support Swift. 

Our ticket then will be, John Swift, Ezra Patterson and Daniel 
Chapin for Assembly, and Caleb Hyde for Senate. 
I am sir, respectfully your 

Obt. Servt 

Aug's Porter. 
Mr. J. Ellicott. 

Canandarque [no date.] 
Dear Sir: On my return from Albany I lodged one night with 
your brother, we had conversation relative to the persons to be sup- 
ported for Assembly at the ensuing election. Polidon B. Wisner, 
Dan'l Chapin and my brother, it was supposed would be run by the 
republicans, and your brother informed me he had written you to 
that effect. But since that time my brother has declined being con- 
sidered a candidate, and we have here agreed to run Ezra Patterson 
of Geneva in his place. I hope this may meet your approbation, if 
so hope you will support him. . 

Gen'l Caleb Hyde of Tioga is the republican candidate for Sena- 
tor for this district. 

I am sir respectfully 

Your obt. servt. 

Aug's Porter. 
Mr. B. Ellicott. 


Canandarque Feb'y 13, 1804. 

Sir: The bearer Mr. Landon tells me he understands that you 
are irrecting a building which you design for a Hotell, he now goes 
to Batavia with a view to obtain of you a lease and privilege of keep- 
ing it. 

Mr. Landon tells me he is unacquainted with you, and has re- 
quested me make him known. 

I can say that I have for several years been intimately acquainted 
with him and have had considerable business to transact with him, 
that I have always found him to possess strict integrity and honesty. 
His wife is from a very respectable family and is herself respectable. 

If you have not leased your house and should conclude to let it 
to Mr. Landon. I promise he will keep it to your satisfaction he 
possesses considerable property which would perhaps enable him to 
commence the business under better advantages than almost any one 
who would undertake it. 

I am sir respectfully your Obt 


Aug's Porter. 
Joseph Ellicott, Esq. 

Canandarque, March 31st, 1804. 

Sir: The election is just at hand, and no men are yet proposed 
except by the Federalists to be suported for Assembly. Your name 
has been much talked of, and I have not the least dout, but if you 
will agree to be the Candidate that you can be elected by a great 
Majority. From an unhappy misunderstanding which happened be- 
tween us one year ago you may perhaps entertain doubts as to my 
sincerity in the present proposition, but if you will agree to run I 
conclude the result of the Election will convince you of our sincerity. 
I assure you that you can run well in the eastern part of this county. 
I expect Daniel Lewis of Geneva & yourself will be supported in this 
quarter, & I think N. Gorham or Daniel Chapin for the other. It 
may be objected by some that Mr. Lewis & Mr. Gorham are Federal- 
ists, but I expect that Lewis will be supported by all parties in his 
own neighbourhood. 

Be so good as to write me immediately on the subject as it is of 
consequence to promote our Candidates soon. 

As to Governor I have not heard who you intend to support. I 
should like to hear what part you intend taking in that business — for 
myself I shall support Colo. Burr, but I shall now declare to you 
that whichever of the candidates you support for Governor it will 
make no kind of difference with me as to giving you my support for 

I am sir, respectfully your 

Obt. Servt, 

Aug's Porter. 
J. Ellicott, Esq. 

Sclosser July 14th 1806 
Sir: The bearer Mr. Short, is a gentleman of my acquaintance 
who has sold his property in the County of Ontario, for about four 
thousand dollars, he is now in pursuit of a place to resettle himself, 


from information from me he has been induced to go on to the S. W. 
part of the Holland Company's Land to view the country and ex- 
amine the Outlet of the Chautauqua Lake, with respect to its naviga- 
tion. I have had some conversation with Mr. Short respecting the 
salt trade from Onondago to Pittsburgh, and as the great difficulty 
of that trade is that of transporting the salt from Lake Erie to 
Alegena river, Mr. Short has been to explore the Outlet of the Lake 
and also French Creek, to satisfy himself which is the most eligible 
for navigation. 

If Mr. Short should have a wish to settle himself on the waters 
of the Chautauqua I prosume he would be a useful man in giving aid 
to a settlement in that quarter. You may be assured that Mr. Short 
is a man of business and sustains the character of an honest and re- 
spectable man. I should be extremely glad if he could be accommo- 
dated with a situation that would suit him. 

I am sir respectfully 

Your Obt. Servt 
Joseph Ellicott, Esq. Aug's Porter. 

Schlosser Sept. 15th 1808 
Sir: I have a neighbor who is desirous of taking up and settling 
two tracts of land lying in township No. 13 in the 9th Range, one 
tract is described as part of lot No. 10 and was taken up in Feby 
1805 by James Turer[?], the other tract is described as the north 
part of lot No. 19 and the south part of lot No. 15. and was taken 
up by Zachariah Warner on the 13th day of May 1804. Some little 
improvement has been made on these lots but they are as I am in- 
formed now abandoned. The man who wishes to take them now 
can procure an Assignment of the Articles given by the Holland 
Company in case the price can be reduced to the present price at 
which you are now selling lands in the Neighbourhood. If you will 
be good enough to inform me I will communicate the information to 
my neighbour. 

I am respectfully your 

Obt. Servt 
Jos. Ellicott Esq. Aug's Porter. 

Schlosser, August 28th 1809. 

Sir: The Bearer goes out to Batavia to take up a lot of land. I 
am indebted to him and he call'd on me for money to pay the sum 
required to be advanced on the lot, & not having it by me I take the 
liberty to request you to consider this as my order on you for twenty 
seven dollars, to go in payment of the advance he is to make on the 
lot he is about to take up. The amount of this order I shall be able 
to pay you in a short time. 

I am Sir respectfully your 

Obedient Servant 
Joseph Ellicott Esq. Augs Porter. 

Fort Schlosser, Feb'y 25th 1810 
Dr Sir: On the 28th of August last I gave Gilbert Hinds an 
order on you for $27, to apply as payment on a lot of land he took 
up about that time. I now enclose a Bank bill of $20, and a County 


order of $10, out of which you will please receive the ammount of 
the order above mentioned, and endorse the residue on A. Porter & 
B. Barton's Note. 

You will be so good as to acknowledge the receipt of this by re- 
turn of Mail. 

I find that the settlers on Tonawanta Creek are felling large 
quantities of timber into the Creek, by which means the navigation 
of the stream is very much injured, and the timber floating down the 
current has done great damage to the Bridge near the mouth and 
was very near last spring carrying the whole off. I believe the navi- 
gation naturally from its mouth to the Indian Village is very good & 
I believe in time may be very useful to the country. The people 
along this river are much interested in the safety of the bridge, and 
I prosume you are in the Navigation. Would you not be willing to 
write to Mr. Clarke our representative and request him to use his 
influence to procure this stream declared a public highway from its 
mouth to the Tonewanta Village ? or such distance as you may 
deem proper to preserve the Navigation. 

I have written him on the subject, and prosuming there can be no 
.objections to such a measure, as I conclude there is no mill seats in 
this distance, the stream therefore must be more valuable for naviga- 
tion than for any other purpose. 

I am sir Very respectfully your Obt. Servt 

Aug's Porter. 
Joseph Ellicott Esq. 

Manchester March 20th 1810. 
Sir : Two weeks ago I enclosed to you in a letter a county order 
of ten dollars and a Bank bill of $20, to which letter I have received 
no answer. As it contained money you will confer a particular 
favour if you will inform me whether or no it has been received. 
I am Sir very respectfully 
^ ^ Your obdt. Servt. 

Joseph Ellicott Esq. Augs Porter 

Manchester, Dec. 27, 1815 
Sir : I send you a copy of so much of a letter rec'd from my 
brother dated the 4th Instant at New York as relates to the subject 
of a steamboat. 

"I have made very particular inquiries in respect to the expense 
of a steam boat and I find that an excellent engine with all the ma- 
chinery to carry a boat of 100 tons (which after deducting the weight 
of the engine &c. will leave 70 tons for freight) will cost 13,000 to 
13,500 dollars. The boat will cost about 4.000 dolls, and Fulton's ex- 
clusive right for the Niagara about 3,000 dolls, making an aggregate 
of about 20,000 dolls. The men with whom I have conversed, Ogden 
& others, think there is no difficulty in making her stem the rapids 
altho the current should be 7 miles an hour. 

"I shall leave this for Washington in the morning and be here 
again the fore part of January. In the mean time I wish you to 
consult Mr. Barton, Townsend &c. & write me your determination, 
as no time should be lost if you conclude to build, instruct me to 
make the necessary contracts. Mr. David Parish is about to build a 


steam boat to run from Ogdensburgh to Niagara and an other com- 
pany is forming to run from Buffalo to Detroit." 

I shall by mail tomorrow write my brother giving him instruc- 
tions to make contracts for the engines &c. agreeably to the under- 
standing yesterday. In case you should have any different ideas on 
the subject please communicate them in time that I may understand 
them before writing. 

Yours respectfully 
[To Charles Townsend.] Aug's Porter. 

Niagara Falls, January 3d, 181 7. 

Dear Sir: Your letter of the 9th of August last was received, 
requesting of me answers to the following questions, viz. : 

What is the kind of rock, through which your canal is exca- 
vated ? 

What is the length, depth, and width of such excavation? What 
was the expense of it? 

What, in your opinion, would be the expense of excavating a 
canal, 30 feet wide, and 5 feet deep, for one mile, through the com- 
mon limestone rock, lying between Lake Erie and Genesee River? 
In reply to these inquiries I would answer. The kind of rock is 
horizontal strata or layers of limestone, of 6 to 24 inches thick. The 
horizontal joints, between these layers, are so open, that there is very 
little difficulty in separating the layers. These layers are separated 
by perpendicular cracks, dividing them into irregular and unequal 
slabs, of from one to 6 or 8 feet square. These slabs are so sound 
as to blast well, and are very pure limestone, so that an augur, suit- 
ably tempered, will not batter, but will last until the friction on the 
stone wears it out. 

The length of my canal is 20 rods, its width 71-2 feet, on an 
average, its depth in the rock 5 feet, besides one foot of earth on 
the top of the rock. 

It cost about $500. 

To excavate a mile of the same kind of rock, the same width 
and depth, would of course cost $8,000. My canal being the depth 
required, viz. 5 feet, and one fourth part of the width required, viz. 
7 1-2 feet, it follows that four times as much rock would require to 
be removed from a canal 30 feet wide and five feet deep, as from one 
of the size of mine: In that proportion, then, it would cost $32,000 
per mile. It is however my opinion, that one of 30 feet wide, would 
by no means cost in the same proportion, for the following reasons : 

First, because in first making an opening, the rocks are all bound 
together in such a manner, that it is difficult to remove any single 
stone or rock without blasting; and at least one half of the blasts 
have little or no effect. Whereas, after an opening is made, the rock 
being separated both by horizontal and perpendicular joints, many of 
them may be removed without breaking, either by hand or the aid of 
cattle; and those too large to be removed whole may be broken by a 
sledge or with a single blast. 

Secondly, the width of the canal will enable you to remove very 
large rocks, by the aid of oxen, much easier than they could be 
hoisted by a windlass, which was the way most of mine were done. 
Many of those which I was obliged to blast to enable me to handle 


them, might have been removed by oxen, could I have used them. 
For these reasons I have no doubt, that a canal through the same 
kind of rock, which mine passes (and it is the same as that which 
prevails generally between Lake Erie and Genesee River), of 30 feet 
wide and 5 feet deep, might be made for double what one of the size 
of mine would cost, viz. it might be made for $16,000 per mile. 

I am, Sir, with great respect, 
^ ^ Your obedient servant, 

To Myron Holley, Esq. Augustus Porter. 

[One of the Canal Commissioners of the State of New York.] 

Bank of Niagara 3d July 1818. 
Dear Sir : A Gentleman of the board of Directors of this Bank 
has an inclination to resign his seat ; it has ever been our wishes to 
induce you to become a member of this board. Permit us therefore 
to solicit you to consent to fill this vacancy, as a measure tending to 
draw the respectability and promote the welfare of the institution. 
We are mo. Respecty Sir 

Your Very Ob Sert, 
Augs Porter, Archd. S. Clarke, J. Brisbane. Jno. G. Camp, 
E. Walden, J. Harrison, Benjamin Caryl. 

Joseph Ellicott, Esquire, Batavia. 

The Bank of Niagara was Buffalo's first bank, organized in July, 
1816. Augustus Porter was one of the original directors, as Mr. 
Robinson has stated (p. 260). Accepting the invitation of Judge 
Porter and his associates, Mr. Ellicott became a director, but re- 
signed in 1819. The original desk used by Isaac Kibbe, the first 
president of the bank, is now in the possession of the Buffalo His- 
torical Society. 

An amusing reminder of the political animosities between Fed- 
eralists and Republicans a century ago is afforded by a letter from 
James B. Mower of Canandaigua, to Joseph Ellicott, dated May 7, 
1804, in which we read: "Augustus Porter alias the political trim- 
mer, is down, and in God's name let him be there." Another glimpse 
of Judge Porter's interest in politics is afforded by a letter from 
Jonas Williams to Mr. Ellicott, dated April 10, 1807 : "Last Tuesday 
I attended Town Meeting, the people were quite Noisey and chos 
Daniel Chapin Supervisor, Gillet Town Clerk &c. In the evening the 
republicans called a Meeting and agreed firmly to Support the Ticket 
you sent me, and to have their proceedings published in the Jlfes- 
enger. Augustus Porter drew up the resolutions and appeared to 
be a firm friends to Tompkins, which was rather unexpected to 
most of the People in Buffalo." [Ellicott JfSS.] Judge Porter 
was public-spirited, and independent ; his character as shown in the 
foregoing pages is ample answer to the epithets of a forgotten 


TION COMPANY, 1 789- 1 808.* 

I was born at Lyme, in the County of New London, in 
the State of Connecticut, on the 1st day of July, 1761. My 
father's name was Joseph; he was born 27th February, 
1727, and died on the 15th of October, 1787. He was mar- 
ried to Desire Pratt, nth of May, 1755. Of our family 
there were five sons and three daughters. The first-born was 
Josiah, who was born 5th September, 1757, and died June, 
1777; Deborah was born 27th October, 1759; myself, 1st 
July, 1761 ; Desire, born nth April, 1763; Assenath, born 
19th October, 1764; Joseph, born 17th April, 1766; Samuel, 
born 23d June, 1771 ; Jabez, born 19th January, 1772. 

From the time of my birth until I arrived at the age of 
twenty-three years I resided the greater part of my time in 
my father's family, assisting him in working his farm from 
Spring until Fall, and in the winter months was sent to the 
common English and grammar schools, where I learned 
reading, writing and arithmetic ; and having made consder- 
able proficiency in these branches I taught a school during 

* Now first published, from the original manuscript, by kind permission of 
the owner, Miss Frances L. Spencer, Erie, Pa. Extracts from it are utilized in 
Sanford's "History of Erie County, Pennsylvania." Some portions relating solely 
to family and personal matters are here omitted. 


the winter of 1782 at Saybrook, North Society ; in the winter 
of 1783 in the North Quarter of Lyme, in the winter 1784 in 
the Old Society of Lyme ; and after laboring with my father 
on his farm from first of April, 1784, until first of November 
following, I resolved to become acquainted with the world, 
and obtained the consent of my parents to let me make a 
voyage to the south'ard. 

Accordingly on the 15th day of November, 1784, took 
passage in the sloop Betsy, Elnathan Hatch, master, for 
North Carolina, and sailed same day. On the 16th we 
fetched into New London harbor, where we continued until 
the 23d, when we again sailed for the Carolinas ; but meet- 
ing with adverse winds and tempestuous weather, we were 
sundry times drove off the coast, and after being drove to 
and fro from the day we left the harbor of New London 
until the 1st day of January, 1785, we made the Island of 
Bermuda, where we continued until the 1st of February, 
disposing of a perishing cargo and repairing our vessel. 

We again set sail for N. Carolina. We again had to 
encounter sundry severe gales of wind, and after a passage 
of 14 days we made the harbor of Ocrecoch [Ocrecoke]", N. 
Carolina, and sail'd from thence to the town of Bath, at the 
mouth of Tar river. While our vessel lay there I hired me 
a horse and rode to Newbern, situate about 40 miles west 
[southwest] at the junction of the Neuse and Trent rivers. 
After spending a short time in that quarter I returned to 
Bath, and from thence we sailed to the island of Matta- 
musskeal up the Sound toward Edington, where I con- 
tinued until about the 23d of April, during which time I 
taught a school about two months. The 24th I took passage 
in a packet boat, for the Capes of Ocrecoke and from thence 
took passage in a small sloop bound to New York, where I 
arrived the last of April, after a pleasant passage of about 
seven days. From thence took passage in a vessel for Con- 
necticut, where I arrived about the 1st of May, after being 
absent about six months and two weeks ; had the pleasure of 
finding my parents, brethren and sisters in good health, and 
made welcome by them. While absent on this tour, which 
on account of the season of the year was very dangerous, I 


was in imminent danger of being lost at sea, but my time 
was to be prolonged ; and as usual, on setting out on my 
voyage, the prayers of the Church were put up at the request 
of my parents for my safe return, and my pious parents, I 
have reason to believe, prayed to God daily for my safe re- 
turn. Their prayers I trust were heard. As this was the 
first of my going abroad, I was as unacquainted with the 
ways of the world as a young man of my age could be ; of 
course had much to learn, and many obstacles and difficulties 
to encounter. 

I continued in my father's family, laboring with him in 
the farming line, until about the first of August following, 
when I received an invitation from my uncle Harris Colt to 
accompany him on a tour to Vermont, to explore a town- 
ship of land of which he was an agent and my father a small 
shareholder. I accompanied him to Arlington in Vermont, 
where Governor Chittenton* then resided. On inquiry we 
were informed that the township was not run off by the sur- 
veyor general, and could not be subdivided into lots as was 
our intention to do. We returned back to Williamstown, 
where I engaged in a school, and took an affectionate leave 
of my uncle, who returned back to Connecticut. 

I continued in this place teaching school until April, 1786, 
when falling in company with a Mr. Thomas Sheldon, a 
merchant residing at Lansingburgh, State of New York, I 
engaged to live with him. I accordingly took leave of my 
friends at Williamstown and went to live with Mr. Sheldon, 
tending to a store of dry-goods and keeping of accounts, 
where I continued until April 1787; there I formed an 
agreeable acquaintance and time passed off very pleasantly. 
Having been absent from my father's family about ten 
months I felt it my duty to return home and pay them a 
visit. I arrived at Lyme about the first of May, where I 
found my friends all well. 

I continued with them until about the first of June, when 
I began to think and talk of returning to Lansingburgh. My 
father appeared desirous to have me settle down on part of 

•Thomas Chittenden, Governor of Vermont from 1778, before its formal 
separation from New York was recognized, till 1789, and again, 1790-97. 


his farm and become settled, and made me proposals which 
were such as a kind parent would do; but having seen a 
better country for obtaining an estate by labor, than the one 
I was raised in, I excused myself from accepting his offer, 
and gave him such reasons as I conceived satisfied him. I 
however discovered in his countenance and conversation his 
anxiety for my present and future welfare; [he] cautioned 
me against falling into bad company, against vice and im- 
morality, and to walk in the paths of virtue, for which I 
thanked him. 

About the first w r eek in June, 1787, I took leave of my 
affectionate parents, brothers and sisters, and set out again 
for Lansingburgh. I never saw my father again. After 
returning to Lansingburgh I continued in the employ of 
Thomas Sheldon, and lastly a few months with Mr. Stephen 
Gorham, who was then a respectable merchant in that vil- 
lage. About the 1st of November I was informed by letter 
of the death of my father who died as above related about 
the 15th October. I immediately closed up my affairs in that 
quarter and returned to my friends at Lyme. . . . 

I continued at home during the fall and winter, assisting 
as one of the administrators with my mother in settling the 
estate, and dividing it among the heirs, which I trust was 
done to the mutual satisfaction of all concerned. The divi- 
sion of the estate took place 23d-25th March, 1787. As the 
spring opened I once more took hold of the plow, and with 
my brother Joseph commenced husbanding the farm, which 
we prosecuted to good effect. For the first time however in 
this quarter, be it remembered, the wheat crops were gen- 
erally cut off by the Hessian fly, and among others was the 
wheat which was on our farm. 

On the 20th May, 1788, I set out on a journey to view a 
piece of land situate and lying in the upper branch of the 
Canada Creek which falls into the Mohawk a few miles 
above the German Flats, then Montgomery County and 
State of New York, being part of a tract of land known as 
the Royal Grant, it being a piece of land I held in common 
with Richard Sill, Esq., who then resided in Albany, and 
who had purchased this tract of land the year before at 


public sale. My intention was to have made an improve- 
ment on it if I should have fancied it for a farm, which by 
the by did not suit me ; and after a short stay in that quarter, 
which was then an entire new country, I returned back to 
Lyme, 13th June, where I spent the summer and ensuing 
winter residing with my mother and brethren and sisters. 

In the autumn of this year 1788 a treaty was held with 
the Six Nations of Indians at the Seneca Lake, Genesee 
country, now the town of Geneva, by Oliver Phelps and one 
of the Livingstons. They succeeded in part, but the princi- 
pal purchase was put off until the year following. From 
the time of [my] return, viz., from 13th June, 1788, to the 
30th May, 1789, nothing took place worth relating; my 
time was principally taken up in farming business, [and] 
settling the affairs of the estate of my deceased father. [I] 
occasionally rode abroad to some of the neighboring towns 
on parties of pleasure, and having it in contemplation for 
some time of taking another tour westward, I left the care 
of all domestic concerns with my brother Joseph Colt, and 
on the 1st day of June, 1789, I set out [on] my journey west- 
ward, with full determination of fixing on some place for a 
permanent settlement; having, previous to my setting out, 
shipped some provisions, farming utensils, clothing, &c, 
for Albany, which were transported by water by way of New 
York to Albany ( 1st June, 1789) ; and after taking an affec- 
tionate leave of my aged mother, brethren and sisters, I set 
out [on] my journey for Albany, where I arrived on the 4th 
of June. It was in this place I remained for some days in a 
dilemma what course next to pursue, whether to go and 
begin to work on the tract of land I owned situate on Canada 
Creek, Montgomery County, or to accompany Oliver Phelps, 
Esq., and sundry other adventurers to the Genesee Country, 
who were then at Albany and were shortly to set out for that 

After deliberating for some time I resolved to relinquish 
the idea of settling on the land above mentioned, and to ac- 
company Mr. Phelps westward, who had used many per- 
suasive arguments for that purpose. And as kind Provi- 
dence would order it, it proved to be a very fortunate ad- 


venture, respecting which I shall be more minute in relating 
circumstances than [of] some former periods of my life. 

My goods, &c, which I had shipped to this place ar- 
riving, I rigged the wagon, and put in one of Mr. Phelps's 
horses with mine, took part of his baggage, and on the 6fh 
inst. set out [on] our journey for Geneseo, about 13 persons 
in company. We drove our wagon to the German Flats, and 
the road being rough our wagon broke and [we] left it and 
proceeded from thence on horseback, every one carrying his 
own baggage &c. We proceeded up the Mohawk river, 
through a scattering Dutch settlement, neither the country 
nor the manner of the people any way inviting and the ac- 
commodations very poor. We crossed the Mohawk river at 
Fort Schuyler, where Utica is now builded, in the afternoon 
of the 10th inst., at which time there was but one or two 
small log houses. We proceeded westward 10 miles, and 
put up at a Mr. Blackman's for the night, it being the far- 
thermost settlement west of the Mohawk river. 

From thence we proceeded westward, following a bridle 
path, passing through the Oneida Castle, and at night en- 
camped on the Canesheraga Flats. Here my horse failed 
and could not keep up with company longer. A Mr. 
Ebenezer Curtis agreed to continue with me, and move on as 
fast as my horse was able. 

On the 12th we reached to the Onondaga river and put 
up at a Maj. Dan ford's near the Salt Springs, and the only 
white family we found after leaving Blackman's except a 
man by the name of Alburt or Talbut who resided in the 
Castle of Oneida. 

On the 13th we arrived at the Cayuga Lake, where a 
family by the name of Richardson resided, who ferried our 
horses across the lake in two canoes lashed together. 

On the 14th, arrived at the village of Geneva and put up 
at Gilbert or Beny's. [ ?] My horse gave out after crossing 
the outlet of the Seneca Lake and [we] left him by the road- 

On the 15th, I returned back to see about my horse, and 
found him in the mire, attempting to cross a muddy run, all 


under but his head, and with the assistance of some boatmen 
hauled him out ; he lived a few days and died. 

On the 1 6th remained at Geneva, and at night put up at 
Thomas Pean's [ ? ] about two miles west of Geneva, and on 
the 17th set out on foot for Canadarque where I arrived 
the same day in the afternoon about 5 o'clock. Took shelter 
in a cabin then occupied by Gen. Israel Chapin. Felt very 
much fatigued, and from the remote situation of the place 
and no provisions but what was brought in boats from Al- 
bany & Schenectady, there was a great scarcity of all the 
necessaries of life. 

On the 18th I was invited to reside in the house then oc- 
cupied by Oliver Phelps Esq., who treated me with much 
hospitality, as he did all other adventurers who came into 
the country with him. 

On the 226. inst. I contracted with O. Phelps Esq., and a 
Mr. Dennis from Norwich to survey a township of land for 
them situate on the Genesee river, known by No. 1 1 ■ or 
Honeoy township. 

On the 23d June, 1789, I set out on a surveying tour and 
encamped that night on the banks of the Honeoy Creek ; on 
the 24th arrived at the Genesee river and began to explore 
the Flats or interval land on the river ; on the 25th began to 
survey the flats, where I continued until the 29th, surveying, 
ascertaining the contents of the meadow or interval land, 
drawing a plan of the township, accompanied by a Mr. 
George Denny, whom I assisted in drawing lots for the 
small shareholders. I returned back to Canadarque on the 
evening of the 29th. The day following was taken up in 
exploring the lands in and about Canadarque. 

1st July, 1789. This is my birthday, and have arrived at 
the age of 28 years. During all these years have been pre- 
served from accident, enjoyed uniform good health, been 
liberally clothed and fed, by a bountiful Providence to whom 
the praise be given. 

On the 2d I purchased of Oliver Phelps a lot in the town 
of Canadarque known by No. 4, west of Main Street, and 
same day began to clear and girdle the timber, on which I 


afterwards built a dwelling-house and resided there for sev- 
eral years. 

On the 7th, accompanied Oliver Phelps Esq., and others 
on a tour to the Genesee river, Big Tree Town, then called ; 
put up at night near the Honeoy Lake, fell in company with 
a party of Indians, held a short council with them, and gave 
them some provision and liquor, for which they appeared 
very thankful. 

On the 8th we arrived at the Genesee river, where we fell 
in company with Col. John Ely and his son-in-law Doer. 
Eliott, who were on their return from Niagara. 

On the 9th proceeded down the river in company with 
Mr. Phelps, and at evening put up at a Mr. Morgan's, who 
resided on Township No. 11, 7th Range. 

On the 10th we returned back to Canadarque. 

From the nth to the 25th I continued the principal part 
of the time at Canadarque and boarded with Mr. Phelps ; 
was once in the time to Geneva, accompanied by a Mr. 
Brown, and in consequence of a severe thunderstorm which 
came upon us in a swamp, we got bewildered and lay out all 
night. I was also out 2 or 3 days exploring a township of 
land on the east side of the Canadarque Lake in company 
with John Ely and Doct. Eliott. The leisure time was spent 
clearing up my town lot. 

On the 26th news was brought Mr. Phelps that those 
several tribes of Indians who were coming in to treat with 
him for the purchase of their lands were encamped about a 
mile out of town, and requested he would come out and take 
them by the hand and lead them in to the council fire. Ac- 
cordingly a number of us accompanied the agent, Mr. 
Phelps, on horseback to where they were encamped, who 
saluted us with a discharge of their rifles. The chiefs were 
seated in a large circle on the ground, who when we arrived 
arose, took us by the hand and led us into the center, where 
we sat down. Shortly after one of the chiefs, Red Jacket I 
believe, arose and made a speech, which was answered by 
Mr. Phelps, who at the conclusion gave them an invitation 
to march into Canadarque, where the chiefs paraded the 
warriors and displayed sundry Indian military manoevers ; 


after which they were treated with rum and provisions, and 
the day ended pleasantly. 

From the 27th [July] to the 6th of August the treaty 
continued to be held with the Indians. During this time 
[there were] about 1700 Indians, of men, women and chil- 
dren, that were served with rations of bread and meat and 
occasionally rum, &c. While this treaty continued but little 
else was attended to. Although no serious accidents hap- 
pened between the whites and Indians there were several 
narrow escapes in consequence of the Indians making too 
free use of spirits, and the misconduct of the white people, 
who were often the aggressors. The payment was made 
them in cash and merchandise. They came and went away 
hungry, notwithstanding upwards of 100 head of cattle were 
killed for them. Flour was not so plenty. It was reported 
(during the treaty and I think not unlikely) that the flour 
of one barrel made up into bread sold for 100 dollars worth 
in silver plates, of various kinds of Indian ornaments. Many 
horses died distempered during the treaty. The Indians fed 
on them freely, also the blood and entrails of all the beef 

From the nth [Aug.] to the 25th I spent on the Genesee 
river, surveying and exploring land. On the 29th, was taken 
with the ague and fever, and was so much indisposed was 
obliged to return to Canadarque. This season was uncom- 
monly rainy. The Genesee river and all the smaller streams 
were frequently full banks, and being much exposed to wet 
wading through streams and swamps, it brought on the 
ague, which continued on me until the 10th of September 
when it left me for a few days. In this interval I cleared 
and sowed about three acres of wheat on my town lot, the 
first wheat that was ever sowed in this part of the countrv. 
In the course of the fall Nathaniel Gorham and sundry 
others sowed large fields of wheat. 

On the 15th inst. my ague returned on me with but little 
interruption until the 3d of October, when despairing of get- 
ting rid of the ague I concluded to leave the country and 
take passage in a boat bound to Schenectady. Accordingly 
on the 4th of October I set out in a battoe in company with 


Moses Atwater and sundry others. On the nth we arrived 
at the Little Falls on the Mohawk river, and put up at a 
Mr. Herkemer's. On Monday. the 12th I made an exchange 
of the wagon which I left in the care of Mr. Herkemer last 
June for a horse, and from thence journeyed on horseback. 
On the 14th I arrived at the town of Lansingburgh and put 
up with my friend Charles Selden, and by changing my diet 
and taking plentifully of the bark I got rid of the ague, but 
was taken with influenza, which continued with me very 
severely until the 22d, when feeling on the mending hand, 
set out for Connecticut. Traveled through Williams Town 
in Massachusetts, Pittsfield and from thence to Granville; 
called on a Mr. Ebenezer Curtis of whom I had purchased 
a lot of land containing 640 acres and received of him a 
deed — a tract of land which I sold afterwards to Messrs. 
Henry Channing and Richard McCurdy. From Granville 
rode to Suffield, settled accounts with Oliver Phelps and pur- 
chased of him; received a deed for lot of land, and from 
thence shaped my course for Litchfield, for the purpose of 
seeing and settling some business with Thomas Sheldon ; 
put up with his brother Samuel Sheldon. On the 4th of 
November set out on my journey for Lyme, where I ar- 
rived the 6th inst., after being absent about 5 months ; found 
my mother, brothers and sisters in health, who bid me a 
hearty welcome. Altho' I have experienced much hardship 
and sickness I considered the tour a very fortunate one, and 
laid the foundation of an increasing fortune. . . . 

From the 6th of November 1789^0 the 14th of April, 
1790 I made it my home at Lyme with my mother and her 
family, occasionally riding into the adjoining towns on 
parties of pleasure, making some agreeable acquaintances. 
In the month of December rode to Albany on business for 
Thomas Sheldon ; went and returned by way of Litchfield, 
where on my return spent several days attending at County 
Court during five months, viz., from November to April. I 
did not pursue any regular business, had not recovered of 
the autumnal fever, but had several returns of the ague and 
fever, and not in health to endure much active exercise. 
Made the necessary arrangements for my tour westward and 


on 15th day of April set out on my journey again for Genesee 
on horseback. The second day on my journey was taken 
very ill with a return of the influenza. My road was 
through Hartford, Pittsfield in Massachusetts, and from 
thence to Albany and from thence to Schenectady, where I 
met with Nathaniel Sandburn and family, and between us 
purchased a battoe, on board of which he put his family and 
our effects of provisions, &c, and of a Saturday (1st May) 
we set off with our battoe from Schenectady, up the Mo- 
hawk river and through the chain of waters to the outlet of 
the Canadarque Lake, and after a passage 28 days of hard 
labor, we arrived safe at Phelps' Landing, so called, about 
seven miles from Canadarque. After my arrival at Cana- 
darque, which was the 29th of May, and getting up my 
stores from the boat, which was done on the 30th, the 31st 
of May I began to plow and prepare ground for spring 
crops, viz., for oats, buckwheat and corn, all of which crops 
succeeded well. In addition to farming I occasionally at- 
tended to small jobs of surveying. 

30th June. This day closes my 29th year, enjoying 
health, situate in a fertile new country and am anticipating 
many happy days and years may follow. 

1st July. I have now entered upon my 30th year; and 
on 2d August following I set out in company with a Mr. 
Babcock, Phelps and others to make a division of Big Tree 
Town (so-called) between these gentlemen. Returned by 
way of Township No 1 1, and purchased a yoke of oxen of 
Joseph Magner [?], price 50 dollars, which enabled me to 
prepare and put in crop about 12 acres of wheat. I returned 
back to Canadarque on the 8th, and on the 9th of August 
begun to harvest my wheat which I had sown on the front 
of my town lot in the fall of 1789, yielding rising of 20 
bushels to the acre. 

On the 10th, died suddenly, Cap. Walker, a young man 
much respected, the first white man that has died in this vil- 
lage since the first settlement. 

In the course of the summer I secured a commission from 
his Excellency George Clinton Esq., appointing me Sheriff 
of Ontario County, and on the 3d day of September a Court 


of Quarter Sessions and General Sessions of the Peace was 
held at the then dwelling house of Oliver Phelps, and since 
owned by Meris [ ?] Atwater, Oliver Phelps Esq. presided 
as judge and James Parker and Israel Capens [?] as assist- 
ant justices. 

I continued at Canadarque until the 9th of December. 
My principal business during the summer and fall was farm- 
ing. I resided in a small log house owned by Moses At- 
water and kept Bachelor's Hall. Thomas Lord, the son of 
John Lord, was hired with me from June until September. 
In the fall I erected me a small log house, which I occupied 
for a dwelling house the year following. On Tuesday, 9th 
December, set out for Connecticut in company with General 
Israel Chapin, Nathaniel Gorham and about 8 others. Put 
up at evening at Patterson's, Geneva, and on the 10th set out 
on our journey and crossed the Cayuga Lake w T ith our 
horses on the ice, at great hazard of our drowning ourselves 
and horses, the ice being very thin and weak. At night en- 
camped in the woods, and a heavy snow fell on us. The 
weather continued cold and the snow about 18 inches deep. 
I proceeded on my journey by easy stages, and on the 3d of 
January, 1791, I arrived at Lyme, where I was again cor- 
dially received by my mother, brethren and sisters, having 
been absent since the 15th of April last. 

I continued at Lyme but a few weeks, viz, until the 21st 
of February following. During this interval, I made my- 
self happy with my friends and acquaintances, and made 
some advances toward matrimony, to her, whom I married 
the winter following. 

On Monday 21st February 1791 again took leave of my 
friends and set out [on] my journey for Canadarque. Hired 
Nathan Phelps for several months, who drove on for me his 
yoke of oxen and sled, with sundry stores &c. We had a 
prosperous journey until we arrived to the Cayuga Lake 
where the snow was all dissolved ; was obliged to leave our 
sled and store our goods, and arrived at Canadarque on the 
16th March. All the appearances of a forward Spring; 
birds were singing and the farmers were plowing for the 
Spring crops. . . . 5th of April I moved into my log house, 


although small and not an entire shelter from the storm, I 
nevertheless felt happy with the idea of being in a house of 
my own, anticipating of seeing better days. The prospect 
of the country becoming populous is very flattering. Great 
number of families moved into the settlement during the 
winter and spring, principally from Massachusetts and Con- 
necticut, who bring with them their steady habits. The 
people generally convened on the Sabbath for worship ; 
sermons were read and psalms were sung. 

My main business this season was farming, clearing up 
my land and extending my improvements as my abilities 
would admit. Among other improvements built me a 
framed barn, to secure my wheat and grass in. This season 
thus far has been favorable for bringing forward the Spring 
crops. . . . 

In the course of this month, July 1791 a treaty w r as held 
with the Seneca Nation of Indians at New Town. Present 
on the pa**t of the U. States, Timothy Pickering Esquire. 
This treaty was on account of sundry Indians which had been 
killed by white people on the waters of the Susquehannah 
and elsewhere, viz, Pine Creek. Oliver Phelps Esquire at- 
tended the treaty from this county, and sundry gentlemen 
from the southward who were at the treaty returned with 
him. Among others was Thomas Morris Esquire, who after- 
wards purchased and settled at Canadarque. A Major 
Thompson from Farmington died at the Genesee river, sud- 
denly of a fever [taken] at Canadarque ; a man much re- 
spected and whose death was much lamented. 

Began to cut and harvest my wheat on the 19th of July; 
the last year began to harvest wheat 9th August — 20 days 
difference. The ague and fever is very prevalent in many 
parts of the country this season. I continued in the country 
this season until the 14th of November, have been favored 
with health and successful in my farming pursuits. After 
closing up and securing my fall crop, on the 15th November, 
set out my journey once more for Connecticut, in company 
with Frederick Hosmer. I arrived at Lyme the 4th Decem- 
ber, 1 79 1 ; had the pleasure of finding my aged mother and 
friends all in health. . . . Having made up my mind to 


live no longer a single life, by mutual consent, I was pub- 
lished to Elizabeth Marvin on Sunday, 25th December — 
Christmas day — and on Sunday evening 8th January, 1792, 
we were married by the Rev. David Higgins. A few of the 
family connections were present. . . . 

After continuing a few days visiting among our friends 
I set out on a tour for New York, on horseback as far as 
New Haven, where I left my horse and took the stage. I 
arrived at New York on the 14th of January. While in the 
city I spent some time in the House of Assembly, where I 
fell in company with Col. Lenley, our first Member of As- 
sembly from Ontario County, who had lately arrived and 
taken his seat in the House. I was also the bearer of a peti- 
tion from the Masons of Ontario for obtaining a charter for 
a lodge from the Grand Lodge in this city, and was intro- 
duced to Chancellor Livingston for that purpose, who then 
resided [ ? presided] as Grand Master. The petition was 
granted. I left New York on the 19th January in a very 
severe snowstorm, arrived at Lyme on the 22d, where I con- 
tinued until the 9th February. During this time I sold 
sundry lots of land to Reverend Henry Channing of New 
London for a small advance, which enabled me to purchase a 
team of oxen and span of horses and sleigh, for the purpose 
of moving Mrs. Colt and self and our household goods to 
Genesee. My ox team set out on the 10th. 

On the 13th of February, 1792, took leave of our friends 
and set out [on] our journey in sleigh for Genesee, there 
having fallen a snow on the 10th which made it excellent 
traveling, which continued good sleighing the whole of our 
journey. We arrived in safety at Canadarque on Tuesday 
the 20th of Februarv, in s^ood health, no accident befalling 
us or our teams on the journey. We put [up] on the night 
of our arrival at Nathaniel Sanburn's, and on the 29th we 
moved in and took possession of our log house, apparently 
with as much satisfaction as if it had been a palace. My 
ox team arrived on the 3d of March, performed the journey 
in 22 days. The snow dissolved gradually with the rains 
and the sun, and the season opened for commencing farming 
about the 10th of April, the ground being settled and dry 


for plowing and the sowing of spring grain, and sowed my 
oats on the nth. Made husbandry my principal business, 
occasionally executing the duties of my office of sheriff, in 
serving writs, summoning jurors, etc. 

[For the years 1792 to the close of 1794 Mr. Colt's jour- 
nal relates chiefly to personal and domestic matters. One or 
two records have historic value: "On Sunday, 16th day of 
September 1792 the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper was 
administered in this village by the Rev. Mr. Smith from 
Dyton, Mass. — for the first time in this part of the country. 
The members who partook of the sacrament were Israel 

Chapin Esquire and his wife, Whitman, Gamaliel and 

Ephraim Wilder, Warner and Pitts, seven in all." 

Two children were born to the Colts, but neither lived. In 
January, 1793, Mr. Colt again visited Lyme, where illness 
detained him for some weeks, but before spring he was back 
at Canandaigua with a load of goods, which he retailed to 
his neighbors. His brothers Samuel and Elisha visited him 
and the former continued in the country.] 

January 1794. Continued at Canadarque during the 
winter for the first time. Much talk of Indian war with the 
Six Nations, and the inhabitants of this new settlement are 
under some serious apprehensions of an invasion in the 
spring if measures are not taken by the General Government 
to quiet them. Early in the Spring news was brought to 
Israel Chapin Esquire, Superintendent of Indian Affairs, 
that Capt. Brant had assembled with his warriors at Buf- 
falo Creek and was proceeding on to Presque Isle, State of 
Pennsylvania, to prevent the surveyors from surveying that 
part of the country called the Triangle. To prevent serious 
consequences Mr. Chapin repaired to Buffalo Creek, My 
brother Samuel Colt accompanied him as secretary and 
Horatio Jones as interpreter. The Indians were assembled. 
After some consultation part of the young men were dis- 
missed and a few of the chiefs took passage by water, along 
with the Superintendent, secretary and interpreter, to 
Presque Isle, and from thence went on foot to Le Boeuf, 
where were stationed a small command of State troops, com- 
manded by a Capt. Ebenezer Denny. 


On the Indians making their business known, viz., to see 

the surveyors and to forbid them running lines, etc., they 
were informed they had shortly before left the country and 
had gone down the river. They agreed to return home upon 
assurances being given that the matter should be laid before 
the President of the U. S., which was done by the Superin- 
tendent. It was agreed to hold a treaty with them the en- 
suing fall. Timothy Pickering Esquire was appointed for 
that purpose and met them at Canadarque in the month of 
October, when all matters of difference were amicably set- 
tled to the full satisfaction of all parties. There was a large 
assembly of Indians and many white people collected on the 
occasion. Among others were the noted character Jemima 
Wilkenson,* alias the Universal Friend, together with a 
number of her followers from the Friend's settlement, whose 
object was to treat with the chiefs of the Mohawk Indians, 
to purchase a tract of land of them in Upper Canada, but did 
not succeed that I could hear of. At the close of this treaty 
all fears vanished, with respect to any invasion from the Six 
Nations of Indians. 
i\ [In April, 1794, Mr. Colt and his wife returned to Con- 

necticut, traveling the whole distance on horseback. Mrs. 
Colt, who was in feeble health, did not return to Canan- 
daigua until February, 1795. In the interim Mr. Colt made 
repeated journeys back and forth, busy with land specula- 
tion, the sale of lots, and the interests of his farm and newly- 
established store. The journal for this period is here omit- 

Some time in August [1795] Augustus Porter and my- 
self set out on a journey to Presque Isle for the purpose of 
purchasing land. Went on horseback to Niagara, where we 
left our horses and took passage with Capt. Wm. Lee in a 
small shallop to Presque Isle. On our arrival there we 
found a number of men encamped in that quarter. The U. 

* For an account of Jemima Wilkinson's preaching to the Indians in 1791, 
and of her presence in Canandaigua in 1794, see Buffalo Historical Society 
Publications, Vol. VI., p. 494; also David Hudson's "History of Jemima 
Wilkinson, a Preacheress of the Eighteenth Century," etc., Geneva, N. V., 
1821. She and her followers made the first settlement in the old town of 
Terusalem, Yates Co., N. Y. 


S. troops were erecting a fort. Gen. William Irwin* and 
Andrew Ellicott, commissioners from the State, were laying 
out the town of Erie, and had in their service about ioo 
militia troops ; and Thomas Rees Esquire was acting as an 
agent for the Pennsylvania Population Company in the sur- 
vey and sale of their lands. We purchased and took two 
certificates of 400 acres each at 1 dollar per acre, payable in 
five annual instalments. We made but a short stay and re- 
turned the way we came. The season was uncommonly dry 
and warm, we suffered much with heat, drougth and mus- 
quitoes. ... 

I continued in trade until some time in December [1795], 
when concluding in my own mind to change my line of busi- 
ness I sold off all the goods remaining in my store to Thad- 
deus Chapin and others on a credit, attended to settle up 
accounts and close all mercantile transactions, in which I was 
pretty successful. 

January, 1796, preparing my business in order to make a 
journey to New England. In the month of February set out 
for Connecticut in sleigh with my sister-in-law Phebe Mar- 
vin. We had good sleighing the whole of the distance. On 
my way called on Oliver Phelps, Suffield, to whom I sold 
some land, which enabled me to discharge some mercantile 
debts. Arrived at Lyme the latter part of this month [Feb- 
ruary]. After spending a few days visiting my friends I 
returned back to Hartford on business, and in the month of 
March set out on horseback for Philadelphia. Rode as far 
as New York, where I left my horse and took the stage to 
Philadelphia where I arrived the 13th March. 

The object I had in view was, to get confirmed the lands 
I purchased of Thomas Rees, agent of the Pennsylvania 
Population Company at Presque Isle in August 1795, the 
principal proprietors of whom [were] residing in this city. 
I had it in contemplation also to purchase a body of land off 
the east end of the Triangle, so called, containing about 
30,000 acres, and offered them 1 dollar per acre for the 
same, but they declined to sell in so large a body. While 
the proposition was under consideration of the managers of 

♦Gen. Wm. Irvine. 


said company, viz., John Nicholson, Esquire, John Field, 
Theophilus Cazenove, Col. Aaron Burr, one of them, viz., 
Col. Burr, informed me they were in want of an agent to 
take in charge the sale of their land, that if I would under- 
take the superintendence of their lands they would engage 
me, and upon a short consultation on the subject I contracted 
with the managers for one year, from the 21st March, at a 
salary of 1500 dollars and all expenses paid by them for 
board, traveling expenses &c, and powers of attorney and 
letters were made out. Maps of the country were furnished 
and money advanced to purchase provisions, hiring of labor- 
ers, &c. ; and in the month of April, set out for the Genesee 
country. At New York laid in stores of provisions, sundry 
kinds of goods, farming and cooking utensils, which are 
generally wanted in a new country; shipped them to Al- 
bany, thence across the portage in wagons, from thence they 
were taken in batteaux up the Mohawk river, through the 
lakes to Presque Isle, under the care and direction of Enoch 
Marvin. On their arrival at Oswego they were stopped by 
the British garrison stationed there. An empty boat how- 
ever was permitted to pass and proceed on to Niagara and 
obtain permission of Governor Simco [Simcoe] to proceed 
with their loading. It was shortly after this they were in- 
formed of the treaty being ratified by Congress which was 
made by Mr. Jay with the British Government, a matter 
which had for some time agitated the subjects of the two 

I arrived myself at the town of Erie on the 226. of June 
[1796], and my boats with the provisions, &c. arrived about 
the 1st July following, and shortly after proceeded to busi- 
ness. I erected my tent or marquee near the old French 
garrison, and continued to reside [there] through the sum- 
mer. There was a captain's command stationed at this 
village, in a garrison laid out and builded in the summer of 


In the month of August rode down to Pittsburgh, at- 
tended a vendue for the sale of part of the Erie Reserve. 
Visited the agent who had the superintendence of a portion 
of the company's lands on the waters of Beaver. Country 


new, but few inhabitants, roads bad and accommodations 
poor, encamped out, nights, tied my horse head and foot. 
The season very warm and dry, made the journey very fa- 
tiguing. I returned back to Erie in safety. 

In the month of September went on horseback through 
the wilderness to Canadarque, principally alone. After mak- 
ing a short visit to my family I returned back to Presque 
Isle (town of Erie) where I continued to [attend to] the 
business of my agency until the 1st November. Met with 
considerable opposition during the season by adverse set- 
tlers. A company known by Denning McNair & Co. from 
the neighborhood of Pittsburgh. After arranging the 
affairs of the company for the winter, leaving the agency in 
the care of Elisha and Enoch Marvin, I set out again for 
Philadelphia on the 4th November, and after about two 
weeks of hard labor and running much danger of losing our- 
selves, we arrived with our boat in the mouth of the Genesee 
river, it being the last day of the Indian Summer, for at 
evening was a severe thunderstorm and the next day and 
evening a snow storm. Winter set in without interruption. 
I arrived at Canadarque about the 21st November, and had 
the pleasure of finding my family in good health. I con- 
tinued at Canadarque until about the 20th December follow- 
ing, when I again took leave of my family and set out for 
Philadelphia by way of Albany and New York. Arrived at 
Philadelphia about the 1st January 1797. Continued in the 
city until the 5th of March following, and having settled 
with the managers for the last year's agency, agreed to con- 
tinue with them for the current year. After receiving letters 
of instruction, and money to be laid out for the further prose- 
cuting the settlement, I took my leave of them and set out 
again for Presque Isle, viz., on the 5th of March by way of 
New York, where I purchased provisions, goods, &c, and 
shipped them to Albany. Mrs. Colt having made a journey 
to see her parents in the course of the winter I went into 
Connecticut and accompanied her back to Canadarque. We 
left Lyme 28th March, and from Hartford Mrs. Colt went in 
stage to Albany and myself on horseback. On the 6th April 
we arrived at Albany, and my stores of provisions &c. ar- 


rived from New York about the same time. While I was 
employed in transporting these to Schenectady Mrs. Colt 
made a visit to her friends at Lansingburgh. On her return 
to Albany, being exposed to the small-pox, she was inocu- 
lated, and took passage in stage to Whitesborough, put [up] 
at the family of Doer. Elizen Mosley, where she continued 
until I arrived, which was the 2d May, when I had the pleas- 
ure of finding her on the mending hand, having had the dis- 
order very favorably. 

About this time my brother Jabez Colt came through 
from Canadarque with horses for us to ride from this to 
Canadarque, and my brother waited at White's-town and 
Fort Stanwix until my boats arrived that were left in the 
care of Eliphalet Beebe, and proceeded with them to Ni- 
agara. I arrived at Canadarque the 8th May, Mrs. Colt 
having received no material injury from the journey. I 
continued at Canadarque until the 226. inst, purchasing pro- 
visions and cattle, and employing labor to take to Presque 

Again took leave of my family and set out for Erie by 
way of Upper Canada. Found my boats had arrived at 
Queenstown ; made the necessary arrangement for their 
carriage around the falls. I proceeded westward and ar- 
rived at the 16-mile Creek on Lake Erie the 31st May. . . . 

[An account of his sister's sickness and death is omitted.] 

On the 1st June, 1797, I rode out to where Mr. Elisha 
Marvin was stationed, and who had charge of the men em- 
ployed under my agency, situate 9 miles south of the 16- 
Mile Creek, now known by Greenfield or Colt's Station.* I 

* The first celebration of Independence Day in the Triangle appears to have 
been held at Colt's Station, now Greenfield, in 1797. Laura G. Sanford, in her 
"History of Erie County, Pennsylvania," gives the following as from the Colt 
MS., though it does not appear in the Journal here printed: "Tuesday being 
the twenty-second anniversary of the Independence of America, at the expense 
of the Pennsylvania Population Company we gave an entertainment to about 
seventy-five people, settlers of the said company. A bower was erected under 
two large maple trees, and when the hearts of the people were cheered with 
good fare, sundry toasts were drunk suitable to the occasion. After I had 
withdrawn, one James Crawford offered the following: 'May Judah Colt, agent 
of the Population Company, drive the intruders before him as Samson did the 
Philistines! Three cheers!' and the woods rang with a roar of laughter for 
some time." The allusion of course was to the dispossession of settlers deemed 
irregular by the Population Company. 


made this place my principal stand during this season, or 
until the 16th of November following. During this time I 
was several times at Meadville, and superintending the lands 
of the Company situated on the waters of Beaver or Shen- 
ango, where I commenced an establishment on them on the 
30th of July, situate about 15 miles west of Meadville, and 
left my brother Jabez Colt to superintend that settlement. 

This was a season of much business, and owing to the 
opposition I met with from adverse settlers, it caused me 
much trouble and perplexity, how to keep from 40 to 80 and 
100 men in the service of the Company, to defend the settlers 
and the property I had the charge [of]. It was more than 
once mobs of men from 20 to 30 would assemble for the pur- 
pose of destroying houses and for other mischief, sundry of 
whom I had indicted and bills were found against them by 
the grand jury of the then Allegany County, the court being 
held at the borough of Pittsburgh, which occasioned me to 
visit Pittsburgh in the month of September with a number 
of witnesses which I took to substantiate the riot, &c. Bills 
were found against a number of them. 

On my return to Lake Erie I loaded a boat with sundry 
stores, gave it in charge of one William Edwards, to take 
down to the 16 Mile Creek. They were unfortunately over- 
taken by a thunder-gust, drove down the lake near to the 
Chatockway [Chautauqua] Creek, when the boat upset and 
Edwards, Tinker and Pierce were drowned. One of the men 
by the name of Hawley was saved, who gave an account of 
the disaster. Two of the bodies were found on the 15th 
[October], viz, Tinker and Price,* were brought up to the 
16-Mile Creek where they [were] interred. 

In the course of this season had commenced the building 
of a small vessel of about 35 tons at the mouth of the 4-Mile 

I continued in the Triangle (so called) until some time 
in October, when I again visited the settlement under Ihe 
agency of my brother Jabez Colt, and after making the 
necessary arrangements with him for the winter I returned 
back to Greenfield Station, where I made all convenient ar- 

* Written both "Price" and "Pierce" in the original. 


rangement possible for the continuance of the settlement 
through the winter. Engaged Mr. Elisha Marvin to take 
charge of the men employed through the winter in the Com- 
pany's service, and his brother Enoch Marvin took charge 
of sundry witnesses in order to attend court at Pittsburgh 
respecting the farmer riots, of the Loureys and others which 
took place in the months of June and July last. Matters 
being thus arranged I set out on the 16th inst (November) 
for Philadelphia by way of Canadarqua, on horseback. Took 
with me sundry young men. The snow was deep, and had 
to camp out a number of nights in going through the wilder- 
ness [between] this and the Genesee River. I arrived at 
Canadarqua on the 25th of same month, where I had the 
satisfaction of finding Mrs. Colt in good health after an 
absence of six months from my family. 

I continued at Canadarqua with my family until the 9th 
January 1798, busily employed in regulating my agency 
accounts of the transactions of my agency during the season 
past ; when I again took leave of my family and set out for 
Philadelphia. Took passage in sleigh to Albany with Sey- 
mour Boughton. On my way down I visited my uncle 
Peter Colt and family, who were then resident near Fort 
Stanwix. From Albany took stage to New York and Phila- 
delphia, and arrived at [that] city on the 24th January. I 
continued in the city until the 16th of April, closed up my 
accounts of my agency to the satisfaction of my employers 
and engaged to continue in their service another year at a 
salary of 2500 dollars per year, to be found with a clerk, and 
all reasonable traveling expenses. Took leave of my em- 
ployers on the 22d April, accompanied* by my clerk, Benja- 
min Saxton, in stage to New York. On my arrival, pur- 
chased sundry stores and shipped them for Albany under 
the care of B. Saxton and Eliphalet Beebe. Proceeded on 
to Albany in stage and arrived at Albany the 29th April, 
where I continued until the arrival of my stores and until 
I had them taken across the portage to Schenectady. After 
shipping them on board of small craft up the Mohawk, still 
in the care of Saxton and Beebe, I took stage for White's 


Town, and from thence on horseback in company with Capt. 
Reuben Thayer and a Major Conly to Canadarqua. 

I arrived at Canadarqua on the ioth May; had the pleas- 
ure of rinding Mrs. Colt in good health ; where I continued 
until the 21st May. Mrs. Colt having agreed to accompany 
me to Presque Isle we made our arrangements accordingly, 
leased our house and furniture, farm, &c. to my brother 
Joseph who was married on the 13th to a Miss Betsy Cell ; 
and on Monday 21st May we set out on horseback and pro- 
ceeded on by easy stages by way of Queenstown, Upper 
Canada, and from thence to Fort Erie, viewing the Falls of 
Niagara on our route. From Fort Erie we sent our horses 
through by land, and we took passage in a small vessel, 
sloop Weazle, Dennan [ ?] master, for Presque Isle, where 
we arrived in safety the 31st May. 

On the 2d June we set out for Greenfield Station, by 
water to 16 Mile Creek, where we were met with our horses 
that had been taken through the wilderness by Olney F. 
Rice [ ?] . We arrived at our station on Sunday morning of 
the 3d of June, having encamped over night in a small cabin 
occupied by Aaron Eastman and family. We were very 
cheerfully received by Mr. Elisha Marvin, who made us 
welcome with such fare as could be had. 

I continued to reside at Greenfield with my family until 
the 7th of November following — was busily employed dur- 
ing the Summer months. The vessel begun by Elephalet 
Beebe the summer of 1797 was completed this year in season 
to make a trip to Fort Erie. She was named the Sloop 
Wasington [ ? Washington] . 

An accommodation took place between the company of 
Watt d Scott [ ?] and the company I act as agent for, respect- 
ing land claims. Took a journey to Pittsburgh in the month 
of September ; visited the settlement under the care of Jabez 
Colt and also of Col. Dunning [illegible] on the waters of 
Coniatte [ ? Conneaut] in the village of Lexington. On the 
ioth October, accompanied about 65 of the company's 
settlers from this station (Greenfield) to the town of Erie, 
to attend an election, all of whom were in favor of a Federal 


On the 7th November I set out with Mrs. Colt on horse- 
back for Pittsburgh; snow about 12 inches deep, which had 
been on the ground since the 30th of October, and very cold. 
Our baggage was taken down French Creek by water; we 
got to Meadville on the 9th and to Pittsburgh on the 18th 
of November. Being under the necessity of returning back 
to Meadville, left Mrs. Colt in the family of Thomas Collins 
Esquire. I returned back to where my brother Jabez Colt 
was stationed and continued in that quarter, viz., on the 
waters of Shenango, arranging the business of my agency 
until the 4th of January 1799. From the 26. December until 
the 4th inst. continued snowing with but little interruption. 
I returned back to Meadville in company with my brother, 
and on the 6th inst. he set out with me for Pittsburgh, and 
arrived there the 9th inst., weather severe cold. Found Mrs. 
Colt indisposed from a fall from a sleigh some few days be- 
fore. Shortly after our arrival at this place the weather be- 
came very warm, snow dissolved, a great rise of water, frost 
out of the ground and the farmers began their plowing. 

On the 19th inst. I set out with Mrs. Colt for Philadel- 
phia on horseback in company with Thomas Collins and lady 
and John Barron Esquire. On our arrival at Shippensburgh 
we made a halt a few days until our baggage which was in 
the care of Isaac Austin came up with us. We arrived at 
Philadelphia on the 2d of February and took lodging at 
Solomon March's [?], where we continued until the 22d 
May following. Our journey over the mountains at this 
inclement season was very fatiguing and hazardous, but we 
were preserved from accident, a cause of much thankfulness. 

The winter was spent very pleasantly. A number of 
Members of Congress boarded in the same house with us, 
among others were Messrs. Langdon, Gallatin, Havens, 
Nicholas, Harrison and others. In the course of the winter 
attended to the settlement of my accounts with the company, 
and at my leisure moments attended to the debates in Con- 

In the course of the winter there was an insurrection in 
the counties of Berks and Northampton, which was soon 
brought to a close by spirited measures being taken by the 


Federal Administration, who took the ringleaders and dis- 
persed the mob. A man by the name of Fries [ ?] was tried 
for high treason, was finally convicted, but after was par- 
doned under the administration of John Adams. 

On the 25th May, having received my powers of Attor- 
ney and letters of instruction from the Pennsylvania Popula- 
tion Company, I set out on horseback with Mrs. Colt for 
Presque Isle by way of Pittsburgh. We arrived at Green- 
field Station the 17th June; the weather extremely warm, 
roads bad, which made it extremely fatiguing to Mrs. Colt, 
which was the occasion of a severe spell of sickness, and her 
life was for some time dispaired of. Was attended by Dr. 
Thomas R. Kennedy, who resided at Meadville, a very skil- 
ful physician. Mrs. Colt continued in a very feeble state 
until the succeeding Spring. I continued to prosecute the 
business of my agency as usual. 

At the October election James Ross Esquire and Thomas 
McKean were the two candidates who ran for Governor. 
McKean succeeded. In the course of the fall of the year 
the P. P. Co. sent out Emin Williams to assist in correcting 
the surveys of their lands, who was the cause afterwards of 
much difficulty and misunderstandings between me and my 
principals. In the month of November I went on business 
to Pittsburgh to settle with the commissioners of Allegheny 
County for the arrearages of taxes due on the company's 
land; made a successful settlement with them. 

I continued at Greenfield with my family until the 226. 
February [1800], when I again took leave of them and set 
out again for Philadelphia; left Mrs. Colt in a very infirm 
state of health. On my arrival at the town of Erie the 
citizens were preparing to partake of a dinner in honor of 
the birthday of Gen. Geo. Washington. From the town of 
Erie I proceeded on my journey with Enoch Marvin, who 
accompanied me to Pittsburgh. I arrived at Philadelphia 
about the 1st March, and took lodgings at John Tomlinson's, 
where I remained until the 1st May, 1801, being 13 months 
and some days over. During the greater part of this time I 
was laboring to effect an amicable settlement with the Com- 
pany I had been doing business for. A misunderstanding 



had arisen in the minds of the managers against me by the 
instigation of Emin Williams, who had laid his plans to 
bring me into difficulty and disrepute with the company. He 
however failed in his designs. The result of the whole busi- 
ness was thereafter a minute investigation of my agency. 
My account was passed, my salary paid me during my con- 
tinuance in the city, also my expenses for board, clerk hire, 
and requested still to continue in their employ. It was how- 
ever an unpleasant controversy, and the circumstance of 
being so long detained from my family was a matter which 
caused me much anxiety and on the whole the most unpleas- 
ant part of my life since arriving to state of manhood. . . . 

In consequence of my long absence from the country the 
settlement was considerably impeded, and the peace and har- 
mony of the County greatly disturbed, by the adversaries of 
the company I had the agency of, which made the business 
of my agency very unpleasant. 

In the course of the Summer and Fall we were visited by 
a number of clergymen who were sent out by the Ohio & 
Redstone Presbytery, who preached in a number of places 
and took much pains to collect and establish churches and to 
convene the scattering inhabitants for religious societies. 
Among others who came out among us was the Reverend 

McCurdy,* who appeared a very zealous man, and well 

calculated to be useful as a traveling minister. On the Sab- 
bath of the 27th of September [1801] was appointed and 
agreed upon to have the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper 
administered in the Township of Greenfield, on a plantation 
then occupied by William Dundass [?]. When the day ar- 
rived, a great number of people assembled. [Mr. Colt here 
records at length how he was brought under religious con- 
viction and joined the church, with his wife. The ministers 
present on this occasion were the Rev. Messrs. "McCurdy, 

* The Rev. Elisha McCurdy, a native of Carlisle, Pa., in 1799 licensed to 
preach by the Presbytery of Ohio, in Washington Co., Pa. He was active in 
the great revival in Western Pennsylvania, 1 801 -'02, in connection with which 
awakening he organized the church of Lower Greenfield, now Northeast, Pa. 
Mr. McCurdy died at Allegheny, Pa., July 22, 1S45. For an account of his 
life, see Sprague's "Annals of the American Pulpit"; also Sanford's "History 
of Erie County, Pennsylvania." 


Satterfield, Tate and Boid, from the Ohio & Redstone Pres- 

October, 1801. In the course of this month took a tour 
through the settlement in company with Elisha Marvin and 
Timothy Tuttle Esquire, in order to learn the state of the 
settlement. Some progress was made in organizing the "p 
militia in Greenfield. Elisha Marvin was chosen their cap- 
tain, had about 80 persons enrolled in his company. The 
garrison at Presque Isle was commanded by Capt. Cornelius 
Lyman, who treated strangers and the inhabitants with much 
civility and hospitality. 

On the 26th October I set out on a journey to Geneseo, 
State of New York. Enoch Marvin accompanied me. At 
Batavia, on the waters of Tonewanta, we called on Joseph 
Ellicott, who w r as an acting agent for the Holland Land 
Company. Ellicott was a high-toned Democrat, and not 
friendly disposed towards the emigrants from the eastward, 
from whence his principal settlers came from. I made but a 
short stay in the Genesee country. Among other business 
which I attended to was to pay off a debt for a tract of land, 
bought of Charles Williamson, situated on Genesee River, it 
being a balance of $1390.50. On my return passed over into 
Upper Canada and sold to Clark & Street a right to Sloop 
Washington, which was built near Presque Isle at the mouth 
of 4-Mile Creek in the Summer of 1798. The winter set in 
and continued severe; until the close of this year busily 
occupied in attending to the business of my agency. . . . > 

November, 1802. ... In the course of this year there jr- 
was considerable progress made, organizing the county, in 
military, civil and religious [matters]. The Reverend Mr. 
Robert Patterson commenced his labors as a minister. . . . 

March 3, 1803, set out on a journey to Canadarqua in 
company with Enoch Marvin in order to attend to collecting 
moneys due me in that quarter for rent and to dispose of 
them again for the current year. The weather was very 
severe and we traveled on the ice from the mouth of Cha- 
tockway Creek to Buffalo. I continued in the Genesee coun- 
try but a few days, for while there, there was an express sent 
to me from Greenfield, having in charge a packet from James 


Gibson Esquire, requesting my attendance at Philadelphia, 
and to be there in time to attend as a witness in sundry 
causes which [were] pending in the Federal Court. . . . 

[The journal for 1803-1808 relates chiefly to Mr. Colt's 
business as land agent, and to family matters. In June, 
1803, he assisted the deputy marshal in ejecting intruders on 
the company's lands, "some of whom were obstinate and gave 
us much trouble." Sept. 1, 1803, "the Rev. Robert Patterson 
was ordained to the pastoral charge of Upper and Lower 
Greenfield congregation." In the same month Mr. Colt 
bought four lots in Erie, "on which was a small house, of 
James Wilson, for the sum of 490 dollars." In 1804 be 
cleared the land and made some improvements, and on Nov. 
2 1st moved to Erie to reside. On June 20, 1806, "the share- 
holders of the Erie & Waterford Turnpike Company assem- 
bled at Waterford and elected their officers. Thomas Touler 
[ ?] was chosen president, James Herron and others chosen 
managers, and myself their treasurer." Under date of Octo- 
ber, 1806, he wrote: "On the 15th of this month the Circuit 
Court of this State commenced its sessions in this county for 
the first time; Jasper Yates Esquire presided." On Dec. 31, 
1806, he makes this entry: "There has been much said for 
these two months past respecting preparations that have been 
making at the instance of Col. Aaron Burr and others on the 
waters of the Ohio, and of boats, ark-men and provisions 
which were collected at the mouth of Big Beaver, and Blen- 
nerhasset Island near Marietta and descended the Ohio. It 
was a matter which excited the attention of the Government 
of the U. S." March 2d, 1807, "the stockholders of the Erie 
& Waterford Turnpike met at Waterford to elect their offi- 
cers. . . . In addition to my agency, had charge of the 
moneys which were collected on the shares of the Erie & 
Waterford Turnpike Road, now making between Erie and 
Waterford, which when completed will be of great advantage 
to the inhabitants of this country." The journal closes with 
an entry on Jan. 1, 1808, but contains nothing further of 
historical value.] 

Note. — The strife between the Population Land Company, rival interests 
and squatters, in the Pennsylvania Triangle, makes a lively chapter in the his- 
tory of that part of the State. Mr. Colt, as the preceding journal indicates, 


bore an important part in it, but did not undertake to set forth the causes of the 
trouble. These will be found more or less fully given, in numerous publications 
readily accessible to the student of the subject, and need not be entered upon 
here. Place may be given, however, to the following contemporary account, 
from the "Travels" of Christian Schultz, who was at Presqu' Isle in August, 
1807, when Mr. Colt was actively promoting the interests of his company : "A 
certain company, known by the name of the 'Population Land Company,' have 
purchased a considerable part of this [the Triangle] tract, upon condition of 
making certain settlements within a limited time. This has not been fulfilled on 
their part, on account, as they allege, of 'the United States being involved in a 
war with the neighboring Indians, which prevented the emigration of settlers.' 
In consequence of which a very considerable number of settlers had taken pos- 
session of several small tracts of their land, as wild lands of the State, and 
settled them under the conditions specified by a certain act of the Legislature, 
made 'for the encouragement of settlers settling upon the western lands be- 
longing to the State.' Many of these poor people, after several years struggling 
with the difficulties of a frontier settlement, had just begun to reap the fruits 
of their well-earned labors, when they found themselves involved in a lawsuit 
with the Population Company, who, I am informed, have recovered the claims 
upon the ground before mentioned. None of the executions have as yet been 
carried into effect; and, if I may judge from the spirit and determination of 
the unfortunate sufferers with whom I have conversed, they are determined to 
defend what they consider as their lawful acquisitions with the last drop of 
their blood. The company are certainly justifiable in establishing their just 
claims, yet, considering all circumstances, it would be better to effect some kind 
of a compromise with the unfortunate settlers, rather than drive them to acts of 
desperation. This question, like many others of a local nature, has at length 
become blended with the divided politics of the State, and bids fair to give rise 
to a little insurrection. At least it is my humble opinion, that the executions 
cannot be carried into effect without the shedding of blood." 



In 1796 I was one of the party of surveyors that came on 
to survey what was then calFd New Connecticut in Ohio. 
In June we came into the Buffalo Creek with our boats and 
picked our camp on the bank of the creek just below the 
mouth of the Little Buffalo. We remained here some 10 or 
12 days. At that time there was old Mr. Medaw [Mid- 
daugh] with his son-in-law Mr. Lane and his family; they 
lived in a log house a little north of Exchange Street, near 
the tannery. A Air. Skinner kept a little log tavern on the 
brow of the hill near where the old stone house stood. A 
man by the name of Winnie [Winne] and old black Joe kept 
a little whisky shop on the margin of the Little Buffalo Creek 
in the rear of the Mansion House. These were all the inhabi- 
tants Buffalo contained at that time. It was a wilderness. 

In 1806 I moved with my family to Buffalo, and pur- 
chased the Mansion House property. A man by the name of 
John Crow kept the tavern there. - Capt. Samuel Pratt's 
house was on the corner of Alain and Exchange Streets. He 
was a merchant and his store was on Exchange Street near, 
adjoining his house. Air. Louis LeCouteulx lived opposite ; 

* From the original manuscript, written for the Buffalo Historical Society 
about 1863. 



he kept an apothecary shop all in the same house. Sylvanus 
Mabee was a merchant ; he had his store in Exchange Street. 
His dwelling was on the corner of Alain and West Seneca 
streets. Jack Johnson was a clerk for Mr. Mabee, and lived 
on the corner of Exchange and Washington. His father. 
Capt. Johnson, lived with him. A man by the name of 
Palmer lived in Washington Street near Mr. Johnson. 

John Despar [Despard] a baker lived on the corner of 
Caryl [Carroll] and Washington streets. David Reese, a 
blacksmith, lived on the corner of Washington and Seneca 
streets. His shop was on the corner where the old post-office 
now stands.* Judge Tupper was the clerk for the contrac- 
tors, he lived on the corner of Main and Seneca streets. 
Zenas Barker kept a tavern on the corner of Main and the 
Terrace. Caleb Gillet kept a small store adjoining Mr. Bar- 
ker's. Capt. Grant kept a store on Main Street; his house 
was on the corner of Main and West Seneca streets, where 
William Williams' drug store is. Dr. Cyrenius Chapin lived 
on the corner of Main and Swan streets, where S. F. Pratt's 
hardware store now stands. E. Walden had his law-office 
on Main between Exchange and Seneca ; a man by the name 
of Phillips, a blacksmith, lived near Mr. Walden's on Main 
Street between Seneca and Exchange. Joe Wells and a man 
by the name of W r hite, common laborers, lived in a log house 
at the foot of the hill near Mr. Goodrich's. 

The first schoolmaster's name was Hiram Hanchett; he 
taught school one or two seasons ; the school was kept in the 
Medaw [Middaugh] house near the cherry orchard. The 
first minister's name was Holmes ;t he was sent by the 
Board of Missions to preach to the Indians ; he had leave 
from the Board of Missions to come to Buffalo ; the inhabi- 
tants had a meeting to make arrangements for paying this 
missionary and they could not agree; they finally proposed 
to take a list of those that would pay ; they made an estimate 
what the expense would be for each Sunday, each one to take 
his money rolled up in a bit of paper with his name on the 

* Northwest corner, Seneca and Washington streets. 

t The allusion is to the Rev. Elkanah Holmes. See Buffalo Historical So- 
ciety Publications, Vol. VI., pp. 187-204. 


paper every Sunday, and so took up a collection in that way, 
and strangers that would attend when the plate was handed 
about would put in their mite ; by doing so they collected the 
salary some time before the six months expired for which he 
was to stay. 

Buffalo belonged to Genesee County at that time. The 
people of Buffalo obtained their provisions mostly from 
Ontario County. There were two taverns and four stores, 
one apothecary shop and one doctor. Erastus Granger was 
Collector and Postmaster. The mail was brought through 
once a week on horseback from Canandaigua. Zenas Barker 
kept the ferry across the Big Buffalo Creek; the landing 
was near the mouth of the little creek. The road to Black 
Rock was on the margin of the Niagara river. 

Joseph Landon. 




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MADE IN 1789 

Note — In the summer of 1889 the ancient manuscript from which the fol- 
lowing journal is printed was brought to light in the State Library at Albany. 
It is not known how it came there, or who wrote it. A small portion of it was 
copied and printed in the Buffalo Express, March 30, 1890. The journal is 
now published, it is believed for the first time, in full, with reproductions of 
the sketches which form a part of the original. Several of the entries are 
signed with a monogram which may be "T. P.," "F. P." or "J. P." or other 
combination of those letters. The editor of this volume has been unable to 
refer the journal to any known surveyor or expedition of that period. The 
start from Fort Erie, and the allusions to "Americans," make it probable that 
the survey was made by British engineers. The original document is entitled 
"The Journal of a Voyage Round the South Side of Lake Erie." 

Sunday, June 28, 1789. — Winds w. s. w. Set off with 
two boats, to begin the survey opposite Fort Erie. Sounded 
a reef of rocks, at this time entirely under water, having 3, 
4, 5, 6, 7, and 10 feet of water now on them. In 1785 one- 
third of the above shoal was entirely out of water. The shoal 
extends from n. e. to s. w., the upper end of the shoal bearing 
from the Fort e. s. e. and w. n. w., the lower end bearing w. 
J / 2 n. and e. J / 2 s. The breadth of the shoal is from 25 to 30 
feet, the length [blank in original]. The distance of the n. e. 
end of the shoal from the south side is y 2 a mile, the s. w. 
end one mile. Found Fort Erie by observation, in latitude 
42.58 n. Surveyed and sounded up to Buffaloe Creek. 

Monday, June 29. — Winds w. s. w. Finding the sea too 
high, put into Buffaloe Creek, and secured the batteaux. 



From Buffaloe Creek, Fort Erie bore n. w. by w. £4 w M 

distant 3 miles. Continued the survey about 2%. miles up 

the beach, until the sea prevented us, by breaking over the 

beach. Sounded the bar of this creek and found 4 feet of 

water on it. Formerly, in 1785, part of this bar was entirely » 

dry, and on the rest scarcely water enough to float a batteau. 

After you are in the creek the soundings are from 2 to 3 

fathoms. The land on each side remarkably good and fit for 

culture. The Indian chief who is with the party says it 

continues so for many miles up. 

Tuesday, June 30. — Winds w. by s. A sea from the 
westward ; could not get on with the boats. Continued the 
survey along the shore. At 2 p. m. the wind and sea fell. 
Set off with the boats and sounded along shore. Found in 
general, 2 and 3 fathoms of water at the distance of 200 
yards from the shore; clay bottom. A vessel, with good 
cables and anchors, may ride out any gale of wind on this 
lake on this part of the south shore. Got with the boats 7 
miles above Buffaloe Creek. Found the land low and 
swampy near the lake ; but apparently very high back to the 
eastward. Hauled up the boats and secured them. Took 
the magnetic variation and found it 4 deg. 6 min. westerly 
from the true meridian, 7 miles distance from Buffaloe 

Wednesday, July 1. — Winds s. w. A fresh breeze, con- 
tinued the survey along a rocky shore. Sounded at the dis- 
tance of 300 yards from the shore. Found good anchoring 
ground and 2 l / 2 and 3 fathoms water. The land back from 
the edge of the lake remarkably good. The banks on the 
lake high. Runs s. w. by w. for 7 miles to Catfish Creek, 
and from Catfish Creek 4^ miles to a sandy point, by the 
log, w. s. w. course. This point will shelter boats from a 
w. s. w. wind. The sea from the westward was so high we 
could not proceed with the boats, which were hauled up and 
secured. Continued to chain up along the beach. Measured 
by log 12 miles this day. 

Thursday, July 2. — Winds w. s. w. A hard gale and 
heavy sea. Was obliged to lay by with the boats. This 
evening found the variation 4 deg. 6 min. westerly. 



Sketch of Point Ebeno or Abineau, on the north side of Lake Erie. 

The above sketch, and title as here printed, appear on an early page of this 
anonymous journal, the original drawing being here reduced about one-half. 
The origin and meaning of the name which is now written "Point Abirio," have 
not been ascertained by the present editor. Galinee's narrative of his exploration 
of the north shore of Lake Erie, 1669-70, does not allude to this point, nor does 
his crude map show it. The editor finds no reference to Point Abino in all the 
mass of the Jesuit Relations. When, in later years, the point appears in records 
and on maps, it has many spellings. Mr. O. H. Marshall found a map in Paris, 
date of 1749, on which it is marked as "Pointe de Bino." A map of 1775 has 
the same spelling (Marshall). A map of 1768, found in Paris by Mr. Marshall, 
has "Abineau." Margry ("Memoires Inedites") has "Pointe A. Binot." The 
journal here printed has it "Ebeno or Abineau." The latter form was the usual 
spelling for many years. Morse's Gazetteer, 2d ed., 1798, has: "Abineau 
Port[!] n. side of Lake Erie, about 13 miles w. s. w. from Fort Erie." Other 
early gazetteers repeat this, but Morse's for 1823 has "Long Point or Abineau." 
running the two points into one. Christian Schultz's "Travels," 1807, speaks of 
"Cape Aleneau," perhaps a typographic error. Crevecoeur ("Voyage dans la 
haute Pensylvanie," etc., 1801) writes it "Abineau"; Heriot. deputy postmaster 
of British North America, refers to it about 1800 as "Pointe a Beneaut," and 
again as "Abino." Joseph Brant, in a letter to British authorities, July 19, 1794, 
spells it "Appineau." One naturally looks to the early forms for a hint as to its 
origin; but no "Bino," "Binot" or "Beneaut" is known in the early history of 
Canada, either missionary, soldier or pioneer, whose name is likely to have been 
given to this point. There was a Binot at Detroit in the old French days; a 
man of no historical importance. Unlike many names of places in this region, 
it is not traceable to Indian origin. One is left still in the dark if its origin be 
sought along other lines. Wild grapes abounded on the north side of Lake 
Erie; many of the Frenchmen who came there were no doubt familiar with the 
pineau, a black grape of Burgundy — could they have seen a new Burgundy in 
this sandy point? If philology is to help us out, there is a possible source in 


Friday, July 3. — Winds easterly and moderate. Set off 
with the boats along a rocky shore. Found the sounding 
good until we came to the points of land, after which we 
found the waters shoal at the distance of 100 or 200 yards. 
Stony bottom. The lands back exceeding good; but the 
shore so bad that for 2 or 3 miles on a stretch no such thing 
as saving a boat or the people, in case of accidents. This 
forenoon past Catagarus [ !] Creek up which there is an 
Indian village. Went 16 miles by the log. Could not chain 
along shore. The bank being so rocky, and without a beach, 
and the woods near the lake so thick, that there was no chain- 
ing on the bank. Courses steered along shore : s. by w. 23^ 
miles, s. w. by s. y 2 m., s. w. by s. 1, w. s. w. 2, s. w. by w. 5 ; 
total, 11 miles; s. s. w. ^4. m., s. w. j4, s. J^, s - s - w - *> w - by 
s. 2 ; 16 miles this day by the log. 

Saturday, July 4. — Winds s. s. w. Continued the survey 
along shore in the boats; the land so high and rocky, no 
such thing as chaining it, having no beach to walk on and 
the top of the bank being too thick of woods and brush for 
that purpose. Sounded along shore ; found a general flat 
shoal all the way for 13 miles. At the distance of 1/4 of a mile 
found 2 and 3 fathoms water, and good holding ground ; but 
within that distance, 8, 6, 5, 4 feet water, shore to the bank ; 
the shoal rocky; a rocky bottom. Measured by log 1334 
miles course, as follows : sw. by w, 2 miles, sw. 3 m., sw. Yi 
w. 854* total 13*4 miles. The coast passed this day, very 
bad and dangerous for boats ; the land very rich ; the timber 
in general hemlock, white oak and chestnut. Up a small 
creek; here observed the sun setting; found the variation 
to be 4 deg. 4 min. westerly. 

Sunday, July 5. — Winds s. w. A heavy gale. Could not 
move the boats this day. 

Monday, July 6. — Winds n. w. Light breeze. At 4 
a. m. set off with the boats along a steep rocky shore. Sound- 

epineux (thorny). Or again, a binot is an old-fashioned plow; and the related 
verb, biner, literally, to dress (as of vines, etc.) a second time, has come to 
mean, to say mass twice in a day — a thing that may well have happened to some 
beset voyager on this coast. But all this is not history. Perhaps some reader 
can brush these speculations aside and give us the derivation and meaning of 
"Point Abino"? 


ings at 100 yards from the shore 2 and 3 fathoms water and 
a soft bottom, but within that distance . . . 7, 8, 5, 6, 3 
feet water and a hard bottom. Could not measure along 
shore, having no beach or road to walk on ; therefore meas- 
ured by log ; distance, 20^2 miles. 

At 4 p. m. arrived at Presque Isle. Found a party of 
Americans and Indians with flour; they were bound to 
Niagara. Latter part of the day the wind hauled to w. s. w. ; 
68}i miles from Buffaloe Creek to Presque Isle, but appears 
to be that distance (say 60 miles) measured in a straight 
line from Lake Erie. 

Thursday, July 7. — Winds w. s. w. at 6 a. m. Continued 
the survey. Sounded the harbor (of Presque Isle) and 
found the channel for vessels running along the high bank. 
Going into the harbor (keeping the bank on your left hand) 
on your right hand lays a shoal, formerly, in 1785, an island, 
now sunk 2 or 3 feet under water. When in the harbor you 
have three fathoms. All to the right hand is shoal bearing 
n. w., going into the harbor. This harbor is sheltered from 
all winds and sea. From the s. e. to the n. w. lay a bar 
across the harbor with 5, 7, 9, 8, 11 feet water. Within this 
bar are 4, 5 and 3 fathoms ; the bottom in general soft. On 
your left hand, going up the basin, lay the old fort and two 
creeks with water sufficient to turn a mill. The land very 
good. The distance across the basin from the old fort is Y$ 
of a mile. This place lies in latitude 41 deg. 39 min. n. by 
observation. [By Adlum's & Wallis' map the old fort at 
Presque Isle appears to be in latitude 42 deg. 7 min., and I 
believe it is laid down from Mr. Ellicott's accurate observa- 

Wednesday, July 8. — Winds s. w. People employed in 
surveying the ground in and about the old fort of Presque 
Isle. Up the creek next the fort is exceeding good land ; the 
woods in general, oak and chestnut; the oak is fit for ship 
building ; the situation of the fort very pleasant. 

There is an American taking up land about 40 miles east- 
ward of the fort, and making mills. The extent of the out- 
lines of the fort is 2,640 feet ; a rising ground. From this 
fort to Fort Pitt is about 5~days' march. Finished the sur- 




[Reduced about one-half.] 

vey of the harbor and the fort. This is a most excellent place 
for ship building and a settlement. It is 69 miles from Fort 
Erie. This evening there arrived a boat from Detroit in 
search of flour. 

Thursday, July 9. — Winds w. s. w. Set off with the 
boats and surveyed 4 miles, when the wind and sea rose so 
as to oblige us to secure the boats. The variation at this 
place 2 deg. 48 min. westerly. 


Friday, July 10. — Winds n. n. e. Fresh breeze. At 5 
a. M. set off with the boats. The Corporal and people in the 
large boat not managing her properly, laid her in the 
trough of the sea ; and she filled with water before they got 
out of the surf. Was obliged to haul up the boats and dry 
the provisions — biscuit and flour much damaged. 

Saturday, July 11. — Winds variable and light. At 5 
a. m. set off with the boats and continued the survey. 
Sounded along shore and found good holding ground at the 
distance of 200 yards, 2 and 3 fathoms water. Found little 
and no beach. Chained along shore for miles, then was 
obliged to get into the boat and measure by log. At the dis- 
tance of 2i l /2 miles from Presque Isle up the lake found 
Pennsylvania line to the edge of the lake, running north and 
south. This line was finished in 1786. The bank in general 
high and clay. Exceeding rich ground all along this shore. 
Measured by log 17^2 miles this day. Course along shore 
w. s. w. Entirely a straight shore. Secured the boats in 
a small river, which is called Coneaut by the Indians. A few 
Indian houses a few miles up. [21J/2 miles the total distance 
from Presque Isle.] 

Sunday, July 12. — Winds w. s. w. Hard gale, could 
not go on the lake with the boats. At 9 a. m. went up the 
river Coneaut ; found the land on the left going up, remark- 
ably good ; on the right, swampy. About 2 miles up the 
river found some Indian houses and about four families of 
Indians. There also found a party of Americans (7 in num- 
ber) on their way f. Niagara. This river from Presqu' 
Isle is 22 miles. Latitude 41 °.3i. 

Monday, July 13. — Winds w. b. s., hard gale; could not 
go on the lake with boats, a heavy sea from the westward. 
The wood up this creek white and red oak chestnut Black 
Walnut and Butternut. 

After you are in the river there is two fathoms water but 
at entrance not 3 feet, owing to the sea beating in the sand. 

Tuesday, 14th July. — W. s. w. hard gale with a heavy 
sea from the westward. Could not move the boats on the 

This day the surveyor laid down his work on a scale of 3 


miles to two inches, up to Coneaut river. Up this river is a 
fine place for a settlement. The swamp on the right hand 
going up this creek, extends back about 500 yards; then 
high land remarkably good. The white oak here very fit for 
shipbuilding. The Indian village on your left is called by the 
French ville Joye. 

Wednesday, July 15. — Winds w. s. w., fresh gale, with a 
sea from the westward. Could not move with the boats on 
the lake. Latter part of the day more moderate. 

Thursday, July 16. — Winds w. s. w. light breeze. At 5 
A. m. set off with the boats and continued the survey. Began 
to chain along shore, for 3 miles ; the road then getting bad, 
was obliged to measure by log. The soundings along shore 
exceeding good at 300 yards from the shore 2 & 3 fathoms 
water soft bottom but within that distance, 11, 8, 9, 7 & 4 

At 12 M. arrived at the river Ouscubolu [Ashtabula], ten 
miles from the river Coneaut. The entrance of this river 3 & 
4 feet water ; but after you are in the river, you find 2 or 3 
fathoms water, the land exceeding good. The timber mostly 
white oak, chestnut and maple. Measured by log this day 17 
miles ; course w. s. w. A straight shore. 

Friday, 17th July, 1789. — Winds w. s. w., a fresh breeze. 
At 5 a. m. set off with the boats and continued the survey. 
The surveyor with 4 hands on shore chaining, the remainder 
working the boats. The soundings at 400 yards distance 
from the shore, 2, 3 & 4 fathoms, clay bottom, the land high ; 
clay banks; back from the lake very good and rich. The 
timber oak & chestnut in general the oak for shipbuilding. 

At 4 p. m. arrived at the grand river. Sounded on the 
river & found 2.y 2 fathoms, soft bottom. Measured by log 
and chain this day 153/2 miles, course w. s. w. ]/ 2 w. Grand 
river is 23 miles distant from the river ouscubola. Variation 
2°. 40 westerly. 

Saturday, 18th July. — Winds s. w., a hard gale, heavy 
sea from the westward". Employed in sounding up this river 
(grand river) for 3 miles. Found the soundings from 2 
fathoms to 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 feet water. The land on each side 
of the river rich with large meadows. 


There are 4 small islands about one or two miles up from 
the mouth of the river. The distance across at the entrance 
of the mouth of the river is 200 feet. The soundings over 
the bar, coming into the river, 9 feet in the channel ; out of 
the channel 8, 7, 6 & 5 feet. The outer edge of the bar is 
about 300 yards distant from the river. The channel runs in 
s. by w. without the bar are 2 & 3 fathoms water. This river 
is a good place for a settlement & for ship building. The 
timber is white oak, black walnut and butternut. 

Sunday 19th, at Grand river. W. s. w. winds, a fresh 
gale with a sea from the westward. On your left hand, at 
entering the river, is a commanding ground, which formerly 
has been cleared ; its distance from the mouth of the river is 
403 feet. This ground is very fit for a fortification. The 
variation of the needle at this place is 2°.30 westerly. 
Squally with rain, could not move on the lake with the boats. 

Monday, 20th July. — Winds s. w. fresh gale, with a sea 
from w. s. w. Could not move with the boats on the lake. 
Took the altitude of the sun, and found this river (at the 
mouth) in latitude 4i°.20 north. 

Tuesday, 21st July. — Winds w. s. w., light breeze. At 4 
a. m. set off with the boats and began to measure by log. 
Soundings along the shore very good. At the distance of 
300 yards from the shore, 2 & 3 fathoms water within that 
distance, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5 feet water, good holding-ground. 

At 4 p. m. arrived at Cayahoga river. Its distance from 
the grand river is 25 miles. Sounded the river & bar, found 
on the [ ? bar] 9 feet of water ; in the river 2.y 2 fathoms soft 
bottom. This is an excellent harbour for small vessels of 
40, 50 & 60 tons burthen. Mr. Wm. Wilson of Pitts Burgh 
says that a few years ago he was at Cayahoga, when the sand 
bar was so high, they were obliged to drag their boat across 
it, but on his return the same season (says that toward the 
autumn) there were 2 or 3 feet of water on the bar. All the 
mouths of the lake rivers are subject to such changes of their 
bars. Measured bv log this dav 25 miles ; course w. s. w. 

Wednesday, 22d July. — Winds s. e., light breeze. At 5 
A. m. set off with the boats. Soundings along this shore 2 


fathoms, close to the shore. The shore steep and rocky. No 
such thing as saving a boat or vessel on this shore in case of 
accident for 19 miles. The land apparently good. At 7 
a. m. arrived at Rocky river, distant from Cayahoga 6 miles. 
I have certain information that along this Rocky River there 
are grind stones of the most excellent quality. Sounded the 
bar and found 9 feet water, sufficient to carry any small 
vessel into the river ; after you are in the river there are 2 
fathoms water. At 9 a. m. set off with the boats. Measured 
by log this day 24 miles ; courses as follows : w. 3 miles, w. 
by n. 6 miles, w. n. w. 6 miles, & w. s. w. ]/ 2 w. 9 miles. At 
4 p. M. arrived at the river Reneshouse [Black river] & se- 
cured the boats. 

Thursday, July 23d. — Winds s. s. w. light breeze. At 4 
a. m. set off with the boats. The land in general low. 
Sounded, and found the water not so steep as along the other 
parts of the shore, it being shoal to the distance of one mile ; 
a sandy bottom. At the distance of a mile, 2, 3 & 4 fathoms 
water, clay bottom. A great deal of meadow land along this 
part of the shore. At 12 M. passed Vermillion river, and at 
3 p. m. arrived at the river Huron. Went up to see the vil- 
lage, found it about 7 miles up the river situated on a rising 
ground. They have in the village 3 priests. The land ex- 
tremely good, with large meadows along the river. Meas- 
ured by log and chain thrs day 17^ miles, courses w. J^ s. 
10 miles, w. by n. 7^2 miles. 

Friday, 24th July. — Winds s. w., fresh breeze. At 5 
a. m. set off with the boats ; surveyor on shore with 4 hands 
chaining. Sounding along the shore shoal water to the dis- 
tance of ^4 of a mile, sandy bottom, then 2 & 3 fathoms clay 
bottom. All along this shore low land witTi meadows. At 
12 M. arrived at Sandusky. Sounded the entrance of the 
lake, & found two fathoms water in the channel. By obser- 
vation, found this place in latitude 4i°.i5 n. The deep water 
going into Sandusky lake lays to the left. After you are 
over the bar you have 4 & 5 fathoms. The channel runs 
n. e. & s. w. From the river Huron to this place (the en- 
trance of Sandusky lake) is 9 miles course w. n. w. y 2 n. 

Saturday, 25th July. — Winds s. w. At 5 a. m. set off 


with the boats, the light boat to sound the lake and the large 
boat, with the surveyor, to measure round the lake, measur- 
ing by log. The soundings over the lake, 2 & 3 fathoms, 
soft bottom until within half a mile of the shores ; then you 
have 10, 9, 8 & 7 feet. This day sounded and measured up 
to Sandusky river. 

Sunday, 26th July. — Winds n. e. fresh gale. At 5 a. m. 
set off with the boats and sounded up the river Sandusky, 
found 9 & 10 feet of water. The sides of this river are full 
of marshes, and next the marshes good interval lands. At 10 
a. m. returned to the lake. Employed the boats measuring 
and sounding. Found the soundings from 2 to 3 fathoms in 
the channel at the entrance of the lake, out of the channel, 
10, 8, 7, & 6 feet. The land round about this lake very good. 
A number of large meadows. The timber in general hickory 
and oak, with some chestnut. This is a very good place for 

Monday, July 27th. — Winds n. e., fresh breeze. At 5 
a. m. set off with the boats. Continued to measure by log 
and sound, found the sounding regular; the land low, and 
exceeding rich. There are two French families settled by 
the entrance of this lake. Found the circumference of the 
lake 33^/2 miles, its width 4^2 miles. This lake is an excel- 
lent place for a settlement. Found the variation of the 
needle 2°.28' w. 

Tuesday, 28th July. — Winds easterly, moderate breeze. 
At 5 a. m. set off with the boats. Continued to measure by 
log, there being no beach. At 7 a. m. abreast of Sandusky 
Island. Its distance from the main land is 2 l / 2 miles. The 
channel between the Island and the main, is called Sandusky 
channel. Soundings through this channel from 7, 5, 6, 3 
fathoms. From the main shore it is shoal at the distance of 
l /2 mile from the shore, sandy bottom. At 10 a. m. passed 
by the Bass Islands. Measured by log this day 25^2 miles ; 
courses as follows : n. by w. 4 miles ; w. n. w. 4 miles : n. 
w. by n. 33/2 miles ; s. w. 10^2 miles ; n. w. 4 J /> miles. The 
land very good with large meadows. 

Wednesday, 29th July. — Winds s. w., a moderate breeze. 
At 4 a. m. set off with the boats. Continued the survev. 


Found all along this shore a shoal, a general flat to the dis- 
tance of 1 mile from shore a sandy bottom. The land 
swampy, with large meadows overflowed with water in front. 
Measured by log this day 20^2 miles, courses n. w. 3^ miles. 
w. n. w. 13J/2 miles, n. w. 3^ miles. At 3 p. m. arrived at 
miami Bay. The land about 2 miles back from the marshes 
exceeding good {20 l / 2 miles). 

Thursday, 30th July. — Winds s. w. fresh gale. At 5 
A. M. set off with the boats, and continued the survey ; one 
boat to measure by the log, the other to sound. Found this 
bay (Miami) to be 10 miles round ; its depth of water 2 & 3 
fathoms ; the channel going into the bay, to n. w. of Cedar 
Island, which stands in the mouth of the bay. Measured 
from the Miami Bay to the mouth of the Detroit River by 
log, 25 miles; courses n. w. 4 miles; n. e. 15, n. e. by n. 4, 
n. n. e. 2. At 7 p. m. arrived at the mouth of Detroit River 
(25 miles). 

Friday, 31st July. — Winds s. w., fresh gale. The sur- 
veyor and four hands on shore chaining and ascertaining the 
distance across the narrows leading to Detroit; the small 
boat employed in sounding. Found not less than 2^ fath- 
oms in the channel to the westward of the Isle of Bois 
Blanch, so that vessels may go up the west channel as well as 
they can on the east. On the east side of this island you have 
7 fathoms. 

Saturday, August the first, 1789. Winds s. w., fresh 
breeze. At 12 m. took the altitude of the sun. Found this 
place (mouth of Detroit river) in latitude 4i°.52 n. ; set off 
with the boats and at 6 p. m. arrived at Detroit. Latitude of 
Detroit 42°.i3 m. 






On an October day in the year 1826 an old man passed along the 
main street of East Aurora, Upper Village, until he came to the 
small building which was the first and, then, the only law office in 
town. Entering, he made himself known to the young man who 
there awaited clients. This youth was in his twenty-seventh year. 
He had taught a district school in Buffalo; had served as clerk in 
the office of Asa Rice and Joseph Clary, early attorneys of this city; 
and after a year or so devoted to the combined occupations of teach- 
ing the village urchins how to spell, of clerical work with broom as 
well as with pen, and of some musing over Blackstone — an excellent 
combination — had been admitted to practice law. As he himself has 
recorded, "not having sufficient confidence to enter into competition 
with the older members of the Bar" in Buffalo, he withdrew to East 
Aurora and hung out his sign; with what success the world after- 
ward came to know, for his name was Millard Fillmore. 

His visitor, on this October day of 1826, was a man well past 
middle years, of an appearance which told of a life of hardship and 
exposure. His name was Matthew Bunn, and by his own account he 
had led a life of extraordinary adventure and hazard. Born in 
Brookfield, Mass., about 1772, he had enlisted at Providence in 1791 
on an expedition into the Western country ; had been taken captive 
by the Indians, near the Ohio, and in their hands had experienced 
great suffering. Escaping from the Indians, he fell into the scarcely 
less savage hands of George Girty,-but ultimately escaped to Detroit, 
which British post he reached in April, 1793. For "damning King 
George and all the Royal Family," which one must admit was (under 
the circumstances) an indiscretion, the unhappy Matthew was ar- 
rested and after a term of detention in prison was sent to Fort 

379 ~ £'A 








North-Western Indians, 

IN THE YEARS 1791, 2, 3, 4 & 5< 

[7th edition, revised— 4000 copies.] 


(bunn's "narrative"; fac-simile of title-page, edition of i3^3.J 


Niagara, then, like Detroit, in British hands. Here, in order to avoid 
being shipped off to Quebec, he enlisted (he says) "under Captain 
Shanks, in the Queen's Rangers, on the 4th of June, I/94-" There- 
upon began a new series of adventures, of hardships and flights. 
He, with companions, deserted ; they were captured, and as they 
were being taken back to headquarters, by boat on Lake Ontario, 
they rose against their captors and attempted to seize the boat. The 
effort failed miserably ; subdued, wounded and bound, they were 
taken back, kept in irons for fifteen days, then sent to Niagara for 
trial. Bunn was sentenced to receive a thousand lashes. Five hun-' 1 
dred blows he did receive, in full view of the paraded regiment, till 
the doctor interfered, saying he could not live through more whip- 
ping. Then followed some painful weeks of slow recovery for 
Matthew Bunn ; and after he was well and had returned to duty, 
he deserted again, and plunged into a new series of adventures in 
the Niagara region, which finally brought him to Fort Erie, whence 
he crossed the river and took his way to the Genesee and thence 
eastward; returning — to Rehoboth, Mass. — in October, 1795. 

More or less of this Matthew Bunn related to Millard Fillmore, 
in the little East Aurora law office. Much more of it he had, years 
before, written out, and published. The story of his adventures 
had seen several editions. So extraordinary was the narrative in 
some respects that it is not unlikely that doubts had been expressed 
as to its truth; at any rate Matthew Bunn felt called on, in issuing 
a new edition, to affirm the truth of his tale ; and to that end he hid 
called on Millard Fillmore, a duly empowered "Commissioner &c. 
for Erie County," before whom, on this 30th day of October, 1826, 
Bunn made sworn affidavit that his narrative was true. 

Why he sought out the unknown youthful attorney in East 
Aurora, when his book was to be printed in Batavia, cannot now be 
told; nor indeed anything of his after life. His story appears to 
have been first printed at Providence in 1796. It was reprinted at 
Litchfield, Conn., in the same year. There is also an edition dated 
l 797> no place of publication being given. The next edition known 
to the present editor was printed in Batavia, by B. Blodgett, in 1826. 
Two years later Adams & Thorp of Batavia again published it. If, 
as the title-page asserts, that was the 7th edition, then there are at 
least two editions of it unknown to the editor. The title-page of the 
1828 edition says — or seems to say — that 4,000 copies were printed. 
If that were true, one would expect "The Life and Adventures of 
Matthew Bunn" to be the commonest of the early books printed in 
Western New York. On the contrary, it is perhaps the rarest. The 
only copy of the 1826 edition known to the writer is owned by Mr. 


W. H. Samson of Rochester; the only copy of the 1828 edition 
which the editor has been able to learn of is in the Library of Con- 
gress at Washington. It is from that copy that the present reprint 
is made; the title-page being given in fac-simile, and the spelling and 
inordinately long paragraphs given as in the original. 

Sabin's Dictionary gives the title of the 1797 edition as follows: 
"Short Narrative of the Life and Sufferings of Matthew Bunn after 
his arrival at the British Garrison at Detroit, April 30, 1792, from his 
Indian captivity." The edition of 1828 says he reached Detroit April 
3°» J 793- The earlier date accords best with the dates of his enlist- 
ment and capture in 1791, for there is nothing in the narrative to 
indicate that he spent two winters among the Indians. In the revised 
edition of 1828, Bunn says he reached Detroit April 30, 1793; en- 
listed in the Queen's Rangers in June, 1794; set out from the Niagara 
for the Genesee, April 27, 1795, and reached home the following 
» October. If we accept the dates as he gives them in the edition of 

iVp 1828, his captivity among the Indians covered some eighteen months. 

9 Jb ^^ A copy of the first edition, 1796, is in the John Carter Brown col- 

' Jk lection at Providence. The Brinley library contained the Litchfield 

*• *Ar edition and that of Batavia, 1828. Sabin's Dictionary mentions but 

I *aU \ two editions, that of 1797 without place of publication, and the Ba- 

1 Uy^ tavia edition of 1828 — wrongly giving one of the publishers as 

Aj "Thorf" instead of "Thorp," an error due to a broken letter or bad 

printing. It is hoped that the present republication may bring other 
copies to light. 

Matthew Bunn was far from the ideal hero. Indeed, at crucial 
times and in ticklish places, he shows somewhat of a craven streak. 
He nowhere reveals the fine manliness that marks for instance the 
character of David Ogden, a boy captive among the Indians on the 
Niagara in Revolutionary days. He was very far from being such a 
bold spirit as David Ramsay, the slayer of Indians, whose story also 
belongs to the Niagara. In its original printed form (it is included 
in P. Campbell's "Travels in the Interior inhabited Parts of North 
America, in the years 1791 and 1792," printed in Edinburgh in 1793) 
it vies in rarity with Matthew Bunn's book. There are numerous 
other figures in the very early days of this Niagara and mid-lake 
region, of men who were intrepid in quest of adventure, or patient 
under the weight of captivity, whose stories are the very embodi- 
ment of border romance, the very epitome of the history of their 
times, all worthy to be preserved in these Publications. But Mat- 
thew Bunn's narrative, so far as it relates to this immediate region, 
stands by itself a chapter of Niagara region history not elsewhere 


The Author of the following pages will make but a very 
short apology for re-publishing the following history of his 
adventures. To inform the public of the barbarity and inhu- 
manity of the red and white Savages, and amuse the reading 
part of community, were amongst the reasons for its publi- 

The author will not withhold from a generous public, as 
a further reason, that he hopes some pecuniary aid towards 
the support of a numerous family, from the sale of it. The 
hardships and sufferings to which he has been subjected, 
having broken down his once vigorous constitution. 


Narrative, &c. 

My Honored Father lived in Brookfield, Massachu- 
setts, and engaged in the American army, in the first year of 
the Revolutionary war, at Roxbury, and died the same year, 


Being about the age of nineteen years, I enlisted under 
Ensign John Tillinghast, of Providence, for an expedition 
against the Indians, in the year 1791. When the period ar- 
rived when I must quit my home, orders were received for a 
part of the soldiers, viz. 28 in all, to embark on board a vessel 
destined to convey us toward the Western country, in which 
we went as far as New Brunswick, under the command of 
Lieut. Shearman. On our passage to New Brunswick, we 
had bad weather, though we arrived here in ten days ; we 



remained there about five days and then being equipped with 
our guns and accoutrements, we marched towards Pitts- 
burgh. The weather was exceeding hot, which made our 
journey very tedious. We arrived at Pittsburgh some time 
in August, where Lieut. Shearman resigned and went home, 
and Ensign Balch, of Boston, took the command of the de- 
tachment, to headquarters. We remained there about three 
weeks, when we received orders to go down the Ohio River. 
The boats we went down in, were of two-inch plank, of white 
oak ; the length of them was about forty feet, and about six- 
teen wide and they rowed with four oars, and three men at 
each oar; and over the top of each boat there was a roof 
like the roof of a building, for a defence against the Indians 
firing from the shore ; though one night we received several 
shots from them, but there was no man hurt; and so we 
continued our route night and day, until we arrived at Fort 
Washington where we joined the main army, which con- 
sisted of about two thousand men; and we remained there 
about two weeks. Then we received orders to march for the 
Miamis, about twenty-five miles, and there made another 
halt, and built a fort which is called Fort Hamilton, and the 
main army repaired to said fort : but I was ordered another 
way on command ; first going twenty miles down the Ohio 
River, and then entered into another small river, called Big 
Miami, that leads to Fort Hamilton. From thence we ad- 
vanced about forty miles farther; this command was under 
Ensign Cobb, of Taunton, and Sergeant Holley, of Rhode 
Island, and consisted of a corporal and twenty-four privates, 
which went to guard the boat-load of provisions by water. 
This boat drew about eighteen inches water, but the river 
being lower than we were aware of, we were obliged to 
draw the boat by main strength in places of fifty and an hun- 
dred yards at a time, in eight or ten inches of water, which 
caused us to be eight days on that passage. On the fifth 
day at night, we encamped on the banks of the river, all ex- 
cept the boatmen, who said they would sleep under the banks 
of the river, by the boats, which they did. We kept the 
guard on the bank of said river for fear of the Indians ; and 
just at daylight one of the guard looked down the banks and 


cried out, there are Indians ! He had no sooner spoke than 
the Indians fired at the boatmen under the bank of the river ; 
and as the men rose up there was a ball struck the bushes 
about six inches above their heads ; but fortunately there 
was no man hurt. We were all immediately alarmed. A 
small party went in pursuit of them, and got sight of the 
Indians who were on horses, and fired at them ; on our firing 
at them they dropped their packs, and some skins, and sev- 
eral trifling things, which they had stole from the inhabitants 
the night before, which we got; one of the balls struck an 
Indian on his rump, but his stooping forward on his horse 
prevented his being much hurt, but cut his blanket from his 
rump to his shoulders ; for, after I was taken by the Indians, 
I found out that my master was there at that time, though I 
never dared to let him know that I was in that party ; but he 
often told me how nigh one of the Indians came being shot. 
The horses they had stolen out of Judge Simmon's* stable, 
about twelve miles below Fort Washington, and they were 
pursued so close, and our firing upon them gave them such 
a fright, that they went several miles back on the same way 
they came, which gave the party a chance to come up with 
them, which they did, and pursued them so close through the 
swamp, that the inhabitants got their horse again; but the 
Indians made their escape and went off. 

We moved on our way with our boats, but the water 
being so low, we made a very poor hand of getting along 
with it, though we went about nine miles that day; and at 
night we encamped upon as clear a place as we could find, 
for fear of the Indians coming upon us; and there was a 
guard of a sergeant, corporal, and nine privates, and two 
sentinels stood at some distance from the camp, to keep 
watch that no Indians came upon us unknown. But about 
ten o'clock in the evening, some Indians came creeping up 

•There were not so many "judges" in southwestern Ohio at that day as 
to leave any doubt that Bunn's allusion is to John Cleeves Symmes, the famous 
pioneer who in 1788 had shared in -selecting the site of the present city of 
Cincinnati, and who in 1789 was with the colony that founded North Bend. In 
February, 1788, he was appointed one of the judges of the Northwest Territory. 
His daughter Anna became the wife of William Henry Harrison, afterwards 
President; and his nephew, John Cleeves Symmes, distinguished himself for 
bravery in the battle of Niagara and at the sortie from Fort Erie. 


to the fire, but the sentinels fired upon them, which alarmed 
the whole party ; we immediately brought water from the 
river and put out the fire, and every man took to a tree, and 
stood in that situation until morning. The Indians kept 
creeping around, and we exchanged several shots with them 
that night ; but it being very dark there was no man hurt ; 
and when it was daylight, we went into our boats, and 
moved on our way, but we had not gone more than half a 
mile, when looking back we saw three Indians upon the 
shore where we had encamped ; being very much fatigued. 
we kept on our way and took no notice of them ; and on that 
day about three o'clock in the afternoon, we arrived at a 
small garrison, called Dunlap's Station, which was about six- 
teen miles from the place of our destination, but we were 
obliged to leave our boat, by reason of the lowness of the 

We remained there about two days, then we went 
through the bushes about ten miles, and came to the army 
and there we remained until Fort Hamilton was finished, 
and then we received orders to march for the Maumee 
towns, leaving about forty men to keep the garrison. The 
road we went, we had to cut and clear as we traveled, day 
by day, which made our journey very tedious, for we could 
go but about seven miles a day. We went on our march 
until we had got about forty-five miles, and then we built 
another fort, called Fort Jefferson; and after we had been 
building said fort about three days, I happened to be on the 
outside picket guard at night. The next morning there were 
three of the guard and myself, not having any duty to do. 
obtained liberty of our officers to go half a mile distance a 
hunting, being very scant of provisions ; and after we had 
passed the sentinels, we parted, and agreed to take a small 
circle and then to meet upon a plain, and then I went to the 
right hand, and coming round a swamp, in a blind foot path. 
a little distance from the plain, looking out for game, not 
thinking of any danger, on coming into a thicket of brush, 
there rose up three Indians, which you may think not a little 
surprised me ; I looked this way and that way, for a place to 
run, but found it impracticable, for there were Indians on 


every side, with their tomahawks over my head, so I saw 
that I might as well give up, as to make any resistance, drop- 
ping my firelock, and putting out my hand to shake with 
them, they shook hands with me, and bid me make haste, 
and then they took me through a swamp upon a dry ridge, 
and sat down for about an hour, and then went on again, 
and traveled until about twelve o'clock, when one of them 
gave a most hideous halloo, which made the woods ring 
again, and one of the Indians told me, bye and bye, I would 
see plenty of Indians, and in about half an hour one of them 
gave another halloo, and a quarter of a mile forward, it 
seemed as though the woods were alive with Indians, and 
directly there came about twenty of them running to meet us, 
some with knives, and some with tomahawks, and painted so 
that they looked more like so many evil spirits than any 
thing else. I thought then my life was short, but they all 
came and shook hands with me, except three or four of them, 
who looked very surly at me, and two of them took hold of 
me, and led me into a miry swamp, and came upon a little 
dry knoll in the middle of the swamp, where they had had a 
fire about six days watching the army ; but no sooner had I 
got to the fire than one took of! my hat, another my coat, 
and another my waistcoat, another my shoes, and one 
stripped me of my shirt, and gave me an old one in lieu of it, 
which was very dirty; then they brought me an old Indian 
who could talk the English language, correctly, and began 
to examine me to know what condition the army was in. I 
told them as good a story as I could. I saw they were upon 
the catch, and I made as few words answer as possible. 
After they had examined me as much as they thought proper, 
one of them went and brought me some roasted venison and 
a piece of bear meet; and after I had eaten as much as I 
wanted, though I had not much appetite to eat, they asked 
me if I could run fast ; I told them I could not ; then they 
told me I must run or die immediately. Then they packed 
up their things and set out towards the Maumee town.* 

* Up to the time of his capture, as the student of this period of our history 
will have noted, Bunn was a member of St. Clair's badly-conducted and ill- 
fated expedition. Although he gives no dates, beyond the year 1791, his nar- 
rative agrees closely with the records of St. Clair's march. From Fort Wash- 


When they first set out from the camp they spread them- 
selves every way, so that no man could know which way 
they went, and after they had gone about one mile that way, 
they came together again ; and after they came together 
again a second time, they gave me a pack of meat and some 
skins, about the weight of a bushel of corn ; and then one 
went forward, and they sent me next, and the rest of them 
followed after, hurrying me on, keeping me on a trot all the 
afternoon, until just night, when one of them told me to 
run. I told him I could not run, for I was very weary ; I 
had no sooner spoke than one of them struck me on the 
back of my head with the breech of his gun, which knocked 
me down to the ground, but I soon recovered and got up 
again; then I saw that I must run, though hardly able to 
walk ; and we went on in this way until dusk of the evening. 
Then one of them took me and led me about half a mile from 
the swamp, and the rest went with him, and went to making 
a fire ; but my master took me and sat down about two rods 
from the fire, and asked me how I should like to be tied ; I 
told him I should not like to be tied at all, but he said I must 
be tied, or maybe I should run away ; then he took a parcel 
of cords, and tied me ; he first tied my elbows behind me, 
and my hands together, forward, and then drew a moccasin 
over each hand, and tied them together, down to the waist- 
band of my breeches, and then laid me on my back, and tied 
a cord round my neck, and another round my legs, and tied 
them fast to a tree, and the Indians lay across the cords. I 
lay in this condition until morning, and it may well be 

ington, now Cincinnati, to Fort Hamilton, now Hamilton, O., is twenty- four 
miles; but the detachment of troops Bunn was with, were sent farther down 
the Ohio, then advanced up the Great Miami to Dunlap's Station, twelve miles 
from the Ohio; thence they joined the army at Fort Hamilton, which the main 
body of troops left Oct. 4th. The advance from this point, forty-five miles, 
occupied ten days, to Fort Jefferson, some six miles south of what is now 
Greenville, O. Here Bunn left the army; he says, to hunt, but there were 
many desertions at this point, and his subsequent record warrants the suspicion 
that he had had all he wanted of the expedition under St. Clair. The Maumee 
town to which he was first taken was one of the seven Indian villages in the 
neighborhood of the junction of the St. Mary's and the St. Joseph, which form 
the Maumee. His subsequent progress towards freedom was down this river. 
It is about 140 miles from Ft. Wayne, at the junction of the rivers named, to 
the mouth of the Maumee at Toledo. 


thought that I underwent a great deal that night, for I was 
tied in such a manner that I could not stir hand or foot; 
neither had I any thing to cover me but the heavens, for they 
never gave me so much as a blanket to put over me, though 
it snowed and rained ; and in the morning when they untied 
me, I was so stiff with the cold, I could not stand, but I rolled 
over the ground and rubbed myself awhile, and set by the 
fire, till I got so that I could go; then making themselves 
ready moved on their way to town again. When they had 
traveled about three or four miles, they made a halt for about 
half an hour, when one of them came and painted me black, 
and painted themselves black likewise ; but not knowing the 
meaning of being painted in such a manner, I thought it was 
done for their own diversion. But they immediately went on 
their way until about ten o'clock in the forenoon, then mak- 
ing another stand, which had like to have been my last, they 
first spotted the trees round for some distance, and then made 
blacking of powder and marked the trees in all kinds of dis- 
figured creatures. They came round and began to make a 
speech, and the Indian that painted me told me to get up. 
Now my master had gone in pursuit of a deer, and was not 
with the rest of the company. In the meantime, while they 
were cutting their capers over me, my master came up and 
looked angry at them, and in a great rage, and made a long 
speech to them, whch seemed to displease many of them, but 
they soon took up their packs and were for marching on. 
Now I was to have been tomahawked here, but I knew noth- 
ing of it until I was brought to the Maumee town ; and my 
master coming up at that time, was the means of saving my 
life. But we had not gone far from this place, when the In- 
dian that was the means of saving my life told me to wash off 
the black that was on my face, which he said was no good, 
which I immediately did, and then he painted my face red, 
which was a token that I was not to die. We went on the re- 
mainder of the day, and at night when we encamped, they 
bound me as they did before, which I thought was very hard 
usage, to travel all day, and at night to be bound in such a 
manner. But on the third day, about four o'clock, we arrived 
at the Maumee town ; but when we had got within about two 


miles of said town, the Indians made a halt, and my master 
painted my face, one half red, and the other part black, and 
tied a large rope round my neck, which hung by my waist ; 
then he took my pack from me, and one of them that could 
speak English told me that bye and bye we should come into 
town ; and he further said, perhaps when you get into town 
some saucy boys will come out and strike you, and if they do. 
you will see a long house, and sit down, and they will strike 
you no more, which I found to be true ; for when we had got 
within about half a mile of the town one of them gave a 
loud halloo, and it seemed as though the woods were alive 
with Indians for a mile round ; and immediately the savages 
came running to meet us as thick as the squirrels in the 
woods, which I thought the most frightful sight I had ever 
beheld ; but directly we came into the town, and as we passed 
the first camp, there came out a young warrior and struck 
me on the back of my neck, and I fell to the ground ; and 
when I recovered on my knees, another gave me a kick, and 
kicked me on my face ; and as soon as I got up another 
caught me by the hand and said run, run, you devil ! and as 
I run he struck me over the face and eyes ; and when I had 
got within an hundred yards of the long house, which the 
Indian told me of, the path on both sides was paraded with 
Indians, as many as could stand ; and as I run through, 
every one of them gave me a blow, some with their hand, 
and some with a club, and others a kick with the foot, but 
every one would have a blow at me ; so that when I got to 
the house, my face was as bloody as though I had dipped my 
head in blood, besides other bruises all over my body. Just 
as I got to the door, and was going in, one of them hit me on 
the side of my head, and sent me past the corner of the 
house ; but I scrambled up again and went into the house. 
and as soon as I entered the door I met an old grey-headed 
chief, and shook hands with him, but I w r as so grieved with 
such usage, that I could not refrain from shedding tears ; 
which I think almost everyone would have done, but he said, 
you must not cry, for if you do, the Indians will kill you ; 
but I sat down, and immediately they brought a white man 
to examine me, which he did very closely, concerning the 


army, and what situation they were in, though I made my 
story as short as possible. And then they took him out and 
brought in another, to see whether I told a true story or not, 
and after they had reexamined me as much as they pleased, 
they went and brought me some of their bread, made of 
pounded corn, and some homminy ; and after I had eaten, 
they brought me a little prisoner boy, that had been taken 
about two years before on the river called Monongahela, 
though he delighted more in the ways of the savages than 
in the ways of Christians ; he used me worse than any of the 
Indians, for he would tell me to do this, that and the other, 
and if I did not do it, or made any resistance, the Indians 
would threaten to kill me, and he would kick and cuff me 
about in such a manner that I hardly dared to say my soul 
was my own, although I daily underwent the greatest cru- 
elty. Often times there would Indian strangers come to 
visit their tawney brethren, and the first salute they would 
give, generally, was to knock me down, and frequently, to 
repeat their blows ; and if I made any resistance, or shewed 
resentment, before or after I got up, those savage-like brutes 
would repeat the same treatment with terrible additions. I 
was forced to submit in silence to that inhuman and barbar- 
ous treatment for the space of nearly a week. 

It being about the time the Indians were gathering to 
meet the American army for battle, there was a number of 
Strangers in the vicinity, and my master told me they would 
kill me ; and he took me from the long council house to his 
wife's camp, although she was gone to the hunting ground 
(about fifty miles distant) to winter; and the savages were 
gathered together in this town for a general rendezvous, and 
remained here, in number fifteen hundred, or thereabouts, for 
one week, and then they all marched to meet Gen. St. Clair's 
army* ; and after those Indians were gone, my master's son 
took me to their hunting ground where his mother and sev- 
eral young Indians were; I had more of a dog's life than 
that of a Christian, for they- would not allow me to sleep in 

* The Indians engaged St. Clair, Nov. 4, 1791, at the site of the present 
town of Fort Recovery, O., at a distance, in a straight line, of some fifty miles 
from the head of the Maumee, which was to have been the objective point of 
the expedition. 


the camp with them ; and if I made a hut by myself, the In- 
dian boys would pull it away, as if it was only to worry and 
fatigue me, and if they thought I was offended at it, they 
did it with seemingly more pleasure, and I was obliged to 
submit, and through the protection of Divine Providence I 
was enabled to support it. 

In the beginning of winter, these savages lived only four 
or five days in a place, and would move eight or ten miles 
further at each time, and kept in continual motion until the 
snow was some depth; and by that time they had got 150 
miles from the town; at that time I had to build huts for 
five families, to cut wood and carry it some distance, because 
they would not burn any but dry. I had a very short allow- 
ance of provisions, and being almost naked for the want of 
clothes, let the weather be wet or dry, hot or cold, I was kept 
at hard work of some kind or other, such as dressing deer 
skins, or hunting raccoons; and with savage shouts, they 
would bid me exert myself or I should die. But the fatigues 
day and night were not all that I suffered, for the Indian 
boys, when I was asleep, used frequently to put live coals 
at my feet, to divert themselves at seeing me start ; and as 
I had no clothes to myself, I often lay near the fire ; one 
night a boy drove me far from it, but I. told them that I 
would not lay back any farther, unless they would give me 
some covering, but their cruelty was further exerted in not 
giving me anything to eat for two days aftenvards ; and 
sometimes I would get meet and, lay it up in the camp, but 
the boys would frequently come in and give it to the dogs, 
on purpose to insult me, and put me to trouble; one day 
there came only one into the camp where I slept, and took 
my meet and gave it to the dog, looking me in the face and 
laughing; this offended me so much, that I thought I might 
as well be tomahawked as to live in torment and vexation. 
and immediately I caught up a stick and struck him over the 
head, which knocked him down, and almost stunned him ; I 
was then certain there was no possibility of saving my lite. 
for he got up very quick and went to my master and told him 
of the affair, and it proved well for me that he made addi- 
tions to the story. I went to a camp that belonged to an 


Indian trader, and told him what had happened, and desired 
him to go and plead me off from being killed ; but I had 
hardly told my story, before I saw my master coming with 
his tomahawk in his hand, who seemed in a great rage, but 
the man went and met him, and desired him to hear the 
other story, before he went any further, which he complied 
with, and after he had heard the truth of the whole matter, 
and how he was always tormenting and fatiguing me, turned 
back and went his way, and never said anything to me of 
the affair afterwards. Soon after this affair happened, my 
master went a hunting for several days, and when he came 
home, brought several strangers with him, who encamped 
but a small distance from us, and at night my master told me 
to cut some wood for them; I replied that I was very 
hungry, as I had eat nothing that day, and he saw that I did 
not move so quick as I ought to have done, he called his son, 
and told him to bring his war club ; at my hearing this, I 
caught hold of my leggings and moccasins, to put them on, 
but he came in a great rage and violence, with a war club in 
his hand, and struck at me with great force, and would have 
killed me, but as I saw the blow coming, I knocked off the 
back part of the cabin and escaped, otherwise I should have 
had my brains scattered through the camp; but my [I] im- 
mediately got my tomahawk, and went about three hundred 
yards from the camp, and cut wood enough to burn that 
night ; and having nothing on my feet or legs, the crust of 
the snow being almost hard enough to bear me up, but break- 
ing through nearly every step, being knee deep. — Thus when 
I had done that small task, (as they called it) my feet and 
legs looked as if they had been cut and hacked with sickles 
and crosscut saws ; the blood pressing forth from each 
ghastly wound, from my knees to my toes ; and when the 
savage-like brutes saw it, they laughed, and said I had got a 
beautiful pair of striped leggins on, which would make me 
rest well, and so forth. 

They used to send me a hunting oftentimes with the 
Indian boys, and sometimes we would be gone three or four 
days at a time ; at night, after I had made a fire for them, 
they would make me build another for myself; and one time 


in particular, that we were out, I supposed that we were 
within forty miles of an American fort, and in the morning- 1 
came to the fire as they lay asleep, and took their toma- 
hawks and almost determined to kill them both, and make 
my escape to the American fort ; but I took the second 
thought that the woods were full of savages, and if they 
should come across my track, and follow me, they w r ould 
have ten chances to catch me where I had one to get clear of 
them ; and thought I should have some opportunity of get- 
ting away without running so great a risk ; and so concluded 
it was best to be as patient as I could, although I had the 
tomahawk up several times to drop it into their heads ; but I 
forebore striking. 

Not long after that, as one of the Indian boys was sitting 
one day in the camp with me alone, he on one side of the fire 
and I on the other, and having his bow in his hand, and a 
handfull of wooden arrows, he would shoot them at me, and 
after many trials he shot one into my wrist, which bent the 
point against the bone, I caught hold of a stick, about three 
inches thick, and threw at him, and hit him on the side of the 
head, and knocked him almost senseless ; but it happened to 
be when my master was gone, and he did not get home under 
three weeks after, and by that time it had all died away ; for 
I never heard anything about it ; although if my master had 
been at home, they would have tomahawked me themselves. 

By this time of the year corn grew very scarce, and the 
meat was very poor, and but little of it for my share ; some- 
times they would kill a raccoon, and my part of it would be 
the head without anything to eat with it ; that was my al- 
lowance for a day, and very often for two or three days, had 
nothing at all but what nuts I could find in the woods, and 
some other trifles. About the middle of March, as some of 
the copper-headed boys were hunting, they found a large 
black-snake, that was drawn out of the water by a mink, 
and brought it to the camp, roasted it with a squirrel, broke 
it up fine, and gave it to me to eat ; but as soon as I found 
out what it was, I hove it down by the fireside, and when my 
mistress perceived that, she told me to eat it, or I should not 
have anything, and they never offered me anything more for 


three days. After that time there were several savages 
going upon a scout towards the American frontier, my master 
and all that belonged with our family, went with that party, 
and left me with my mistress : but there were several other 
camps, and some remaining Indians in the neighborhood, 
who had orders to chastise me, if they saw me saucy to my 
mistress. We remained in that place about a week, and 
some American Indians came within ten miles of us and killed 
two or three families of the Delawares, which put our tribe 
in such a fright, that they fled to their towns, which were 
about one hundred and fifty miles, but the way we went it 
was two hundred miles, to keep out of sight of some hostile 
savages. The way being very bad that w T e went, our journey 
lasted three weeks, and all that time my mistress never gave 
me a spoonful of any thing to eat, only what I could get in 
the woods, such as ground nuts, and some other nuts, and 
having a pack to carry, weighing sixty or seventy pounds 
(that being my daily task), and frequently could get nothing 
to eat for two or three days. Sometimes I would get a peck 
of ground nuts and my mistress would take them all from 
me. One day I borrowed a gun of an Indian, and went a 
hunting, to kill something to eat, and by chance I found 
eight large black-snakes sunning themselves ; I killed and 
strung them on a stick, and carried them to the camp. My 
mistress looking out, imagined I had some black squirrels, 
I came into camp and threw down the snakes at the old 
squaw's feet, which enraged her so much, she threw a toma- 
hawk at me ; the next thing that came to hand was a brand 
of fire, on which I was obliged to leave the camp, and did not 
return that day; but when the other savages saw her that 
knew of her giving me a roasted snake to eat, some days 
before, it pleased them very much, because they said I served 
her tit for tat, or paid the old score ; in the evening she called 
for me, and asked what I brought those snakes for, I made 
reply that they were to pay her for the one she gave me to 
eat. She, believing that I was even with her, let it drop, and 
it soon blew over, though I fared none the worse for provi- 
sions afterwards. 

When we arrived at the Maumee town, I resolved to 


make my escape from the savages. We arrived at the town 
about the middle of the afternoon ; and after I had made a 
camp for my mistress, we not encamping on the side of the 
river where the town was, I took a walk down the river, to 
see if I could find a canoe to make my escape in, which I did, 
lying under the bank of the river; and in the edge of the 
evening, about nine o'clock, after the old squaw had got 
asleep, I got up and crept away from the camp, and then had 
to go one quarter of a mile through thick bushes to the river ; 
it was exceedingly dark, and when I came there the. canoe 
was gone. I was obliged to make all the speed possible, to 
get back to the camp, for fear they would miss me, and I 
had but just got to the fire, and laid down, before my mis- 
tress called to me to make a fire. On the next morning there 
came a prisoner by the name of Morris Doyle, from over 
the river, and I went out to work and asked him if he did not 
mean to try to make his escape from the savages ? He said 
he did not know the woods, but if he could get any one to 
set off with him he would go. I told him that I was resolved 
to go that night, and he said, if we could get together he 
would go with me, and I asked him how we should get to- 
gether ; he said his master had a very nice canoe, and often- 
times the Indians would come after they were gone to bed, to 
come over the river, and he had to get up and fetch them 
across, and he said I must come down when I thought they 
were all asleep, and give an Indian halloo, and he would get 
up and come over the river with the canoe, and we would 
make the best of our way down the river, night and day, 
until we arrived at some Christian settlement; but it hap- 
pened in my favor — my mistress went over the river that 
day, to see her daughter, and when she came back, she said 
I must go over the river that night, and stay there, to clear 
the land for corn. This pleased me very well, for I should 
have a much better chance to escape ; and after going over 
the river where they had sent me to work, I staid there until 
about sunset, and then asked liberty of the Indian to go and 
see Morris Doyle ; — said I had not seen him for a great 
while, and he told me to go, so I went to his camp, which was 
about a mile; when I came there he had just got over the 


river from work ; I told him that he might make ready for a 
start that night, for the sooner we went the better we could 
make our escape ; for my master was gone out to war, and 
all the Indians that belonged to that family, and I did not 
think the other savages would follow us so close as my mas- 
ter; so we agreed to go that night, and as soon as it was 
dark I went out, as if going home, and lay in the brush until 
the savages were all asleep, and then I came in, very still, 
and awoke him, and we went down to the River where the 
canoe was, and when we came there we found no paddles in 
the canoe, and very poor poles, and the water was six or 
seven feet deep, and when we had gone down the river about 
half a mile, the Indian camps being very thick upon the 
banks of the river, they heard us going down, though it was 
so dark they could not see us, but there came an Indian down 
to the bank of the river, and called out three or four times, 
and asked who was there — but we squatted down in our 
canoe, and let the current carry us down past them. We had 
not gone more than three miles before we were hailed again 
by the savages ; but we set down in the canoe until we 
drifted past the camp, and then we went about four miles 
and there came an Indian out of his camp, and came down 
to the river with a brand of fire in his hand, and spoke in his 
own language, and asked who was there; but we made no 
answer, but went on as fast as we could ; we went on for an 
hour and a half, and we saw some person going down by the 
side of us with a brand of fire in his hand ; I then told Doyle 
that it was not safe to go any further in a canoe, for the In- 
dian was going down to head us, we run our canoe ashore, 
and took to the land, and I went forward expecting that he 
was close behind me, until I had got as much as a mile, then 
made a halt, and called him, but could hear nothing of him ; 
it would not do for me to tarrv Ions:, for I heard the canoes 
after us. I went that night with all the speed it was possible 
to make, although it was very slow, for it was exceeding 
dark, and about midnight it began to rain ; some part of the 
way I went on the bank of the river, and the other part took 
to the woods, thick and thin, and went through swamps and 
thickets : sometimes I would run, and verv often was 


brought up with my legs against an old log, which would 
pitch me headforemost into the brush for nearly a rod. One 
time as I was running, I came to a gutter that ran through 
from a pond, and the bank being almost straight down about 
twelve feet deep, and it being so dark that I did not perceive 
it, and taking one long step from top to bottom, came head- 
foremost into it, in about four feet of water! but notwith- 
standing I made a shift to force my way thro'. Any one 
must suppose that I was not a very little frightened at that 
misstep; but when I came to the bank on the other side, it 
being somewhat steep, was very much troubled to get up, 
and fell back a number of times, but by good luck at last got 
out: I traveled until daylight, and then went three miles 
back from the river into the woods, and came to a thick 
swamp, crept into a hollow log, and lay there until evening, 
and then set out on my nocturnal route; but faring very 
hard, and my being much bewildered, did not know which 
way to steer, but travelled about two hours, and not finding 
the river, it was certain I was lost. I then turned another 
course, and had not gone more than a mile before I came to 
a footpath; and then did not know which way to go, but 
happened to take the wrong way, and had not gone far be- 
fore I met an Indian in the path. I knew that running 
would not save me, and thought perhaps, if I could keep 
close by him, and say nothing, I might not be mistrusted; 
but on nearing him, he asked where I was going? I told 
him that I was hunting after a horse and had got lost. 
He asked me what my master's name was ? I told him I did 
not know, but he was a Delaware. He then asked me if I 
thought I could find my camp alone; my reply was, I ex- 
pected that this path would lead me to some camp that I 
knew. He said there was a camp close by us. Then I told 
him I would go there with him, and perhaps should know 
the way home from there. He said he was going there. 
Then I thought my escape was at an end, as I could not do 
less than to go with him, so I followed him to the camp, and 
when we came there he asked me if I knew the camp? I 
replied no, but would stay there until the next morning, and 
then would find the way home. 


All this time he did not mistrust my running away, from 
the Indians, but when we came into the camp, he told them 
that I was lost, and wanted to sleep there that night, so that 
I might find the way home in the morning. But in the mean 
time, in came the infamous George Girty,* the younger, who 
knew me, and said that I had ran away from the Indians, 
for they had been down to his camp that day after me. When 
he first came in, he looked at me, and spoke in the Indian 
language, and asked them how I came there. They made 
answer that I was lost ; but Girty said that I was a liar, for 
there were two that run away from the Indians, and that I 
was one of them ; and he said the Indians were after us, and 
had left word with him to take me up if he could find me. 
Then Girty asked me if I did not run away from the Indians ; 
I told him I did not; he said he believed that I told a lie; 
they directly began to converse together, to know what they 
should do with me. Girty said that he would take me home 
with him, and the next day take me back to my master. All 
that while I sat very well composed, as if I could not under- 
stand their language, although I knew if I could get over the 
river, I should stand a very good chance to make my escape 
once more. The next day we set off to his camp, which was 
about six miles. He took good care that I should not go be- 

* George Girty, "the younger," was a half-breed son of George Girty, and 
grandson of the Simon Girty who was killed by an Indian in 1751. This Simon 
left four sons, Thomas, Simon, James and George. They were all taken prison- 
ers by the Indians, with whom they remained closely identified. They all figure 
prominently in border history during the Revolution and the years that fol- 
lowed. George, father of the half-breed to whom Bunn here refers, was adopted 
by the Delawares. In 1775 he was living near Pittsburg, but in 1779 deserted 
to the British at Detroit. He became British disbursing agent in the Shawanese 
towns; in his later years, having taken a Delaware wife, he lived in the 
Delaware towns on the Maumee. James, two years his senior, also mentioned 
in Bunn's narrative, in his later years had a trading post at Girty's Point, five 
miles above Napoleon, O. Simon Girty — most famous, or infamous, of the 
brothers — attended a treaty held by Sir John Johnson at Niagara in 1786; and 
here he obtained the promise of certain lands in Canada, near the Detroit river, 
in recognition of his services rendered to the British during the Revolution. 
Much relating to the Girtys may be found in the Haldimand Papers (MSS., 
British Museum, and copies in the Archives office, Ottawa) ; the best printed 
account is Consul W. Butterfield's "History of the Girtys" (Cincinnati, 1890), 
a most thorough and painstaking work. It gives an account of several Ameri- 
can captives who came into the hands of the Girtys, but Matthew Bunn and his 
excessively rare "Narrative" were evidently unknown to its author. 


hind, for he put me forward, following on with a tomahawk 
in one hand, and his rifle in the other ; and we went in that 
condition until we arrived at the river, and he called for a 
canoe and we went across, and soon came to his camp. But 
when he came there, his father, and James Girty, his brother, 
knew me, and several other of the Indians, and George Girty 
asked me where I wished to go; I told him I wanted to go 
where I could have better fare than I had among the Indians ; 
he asked me if they did not give me enough to eat ; I told 
him, instead of giving me enough to eat, they gave me noth- 
ing at all. He asked me if I was hungry ; I told him that 
some victuals would be very kindly accepted ; for I had not 
eat anything for three weeks but what I could get in the 
woods; he told me if I would go and cut some wood and 
make a fire, I should have something to eat. It was- then 
evening, and I cut some wood and made a fire. As I de- 
signed to make my escape the first opportunity, I sat by the 
fire all night, and made two or three attempts to get away, 
but the dogs would hear me, and make such a barking that 
the savages would get up to see what the matter was; but 
early in the morning I heard them whispering together to 
know what they should do with me. The old squaws and 
young Girty, said they would carry me back that day to my 
master again. Hearing this, and not having any chance to 
make my escape, made me feel quite down-hearted ; there 
was one George Whiteeyes* who could understand English. 
and perceiving that I was somewhat troubled in mind, asked 
me what the matter was ; I told him that I heard them say 
they would carry me back to my master ; I told him I was 
resolved not to go alive, for I knew they would put me to 
the torture in the most barbarous manner. He then told 
them what I said, and they concluded to send word to the 
Indians that I was there, which they did by sending young 
Girty unbeknown to me. When he had been gone about 
half an hour, a little negro boy who belonged to James 

* "Captain" White Eyes was a Delaware chief, frequently mentioned in the 
records of the time. His name is in the list which Lord Dunmore furnished to 
the British Government, of those whom he considered loyal on the frontiers of 
Virginia. (MS. list, Haldimand Papers.) He is also mentioned in Hecke- 
welder's "Narrative," p. 182. 


Girty, asked me if I knew where young Girty had gone ; I 
told him I did not; he said he heard them agree for me to 
be kept all that day while they could give word to the Indi- 
ans. When I heard this I went to old Girty, and asked him 
where young Girty had gone; he said he had gone after a 
horse that was lost. I was then convinced there was evil 
determined against me. I told him it lay in his power to 
help me, and begged he would. He said I had better be con- 
tent to go back, for he did not think the Indians would hurt 
me. I told him he could not satisfy me with such stories as 
that, for he knew better. He said he could not assist me for 
fear of the Indians, for if they knew he helped me, they 
would fall aboard of him ; but he said I might go to James 
Girty, his brother, and perhaps he would assist me, which 
I did; when I came to him, he also told me he could do 
nothing for me, for fear the Indians would find it out and 
blame him. I then asked him if I might go over the river 
to M'Daniel's, who kept a store on the other side, he said I 
might go and see him, if I would come back again ; I told 
him if he was afraid of my running away he might send his 
negro boy with me ; accordingly he did. As soon as I got 
over the river I told the boy to stand by the canoe until I 
ran up to the house, and then I would come back again ; but 
instead of going to the house, I went into the woods about a 
mile, and crept under an old log, and lay there from sunrise 
until dark; then went to Mr. M'Daniels and told him my 
condition, and begged his assistance ; but he said it was out 
of his power to help me ; that if I had been there about two 
hours sooner I might have had my passage into Detroit, for 
he had sent two pettiaugers* of packs to that place ; that he 
feared the Indians, and could not assist me. I asked him if 
he could help me to some provisions ; he said he had none 
except what he bought of the Indians, and was then quite 
destitute. Then I began to be almost discouraged for fear 
of being taken ; but by chance there was a prisoner who 
lived near by, being there, asked me if I had not made my 
escape from the Indians. I told him I had ; he told me it 

* Periauger, a canoe formed of the trunk of a tree; a pirogue. Charlevoix 
uses the old form. 


was not safe for me to be there, for the Indians were hunting 
after me but a little while before ; he advised me to go down 
the river that night, gave me a paddle, and showed me a 
large pettiauger that I could go across the river to the side 
that the village was, and said there I would find a small 
canoe, and told me to make my escape down the river ; but 
when I got across, and went past the town, I could find no 
canoe except a birch one, and not being acquainted with 
them I made out but poorly ; the wind blew very fresh up 
the river so that it took me quite on the other side, hard by 
an Indian camp on the top of the bank, and the dogs made 
such a barking that the Indians came out, but it was so dark 
they could not discover me. As soon as they were still I 
pushed over to the other side of the river, let my canoe drift, 
and made the best of my way by land. I then had about two 
miles to travel to get past the Indians ; and to add to my 
sorrow, through thickets and over hedge fences, until I was 
almost torn to pieces. After I had got about three or four 
miles past the Indian town, I heard two horse bells, at a dis- 
tance from the river, went to them, caught one, and took off 
the cords that his legs were tied together with, made a halter 
of them, put it on, and was just ready to mount when I heard 
the Indians a little distance forward, which obliged me to 
leave the horse standing, and make the best of my way 
through swamps and pond-holes. About twelve o'clock that 
night I came into a small footpath, where I saw an Indian 
lying asleep by the side of the road. Previous to his lying 
down he had made him a fire, but it was all out except a 
small coal which I happened to see, otherwise I should have 
stepped upon the savage, which gave me a start, but stepping 
back softly and creeping by him he did not wake. So I went 
forward that night till break of day. I then went back into 
the woods about half a mile, lay down and slept until about 
ten o'clock in the morning, and then thought I would travel 
a little by daylight, and went upon the shore, for the savages 
were frequently passing and repassing in the road I was in. 
After traveling about three miles on the shore, I saw a camp 
over the river, and they discovered me — they gave an Indian 
whoop, and I gave them another; they hallooed a second 


time, and I again repeated the same, which made them doubt 
my being one of them, they came down to the river which 
was very wide, and the wind blew exceeding hard up the 
river, so that it drove them upstream some ways from me ; 
for there was a long point made out into the river betwixt 
me and where they had to go on shore, and as soon as they 
were past the point, I left the river, and went into the woods 
about forty rods from the river, and crept into a thick tree 
top that was lying down, where I hid myself. I had not been 
there but a few minutes before the savages came by, looking 
after me, until towards evening, not finding me, they re- 
turned back again. I remained in this place until sunset. 
When I supposed they were all encamped for that day, so 
there was no danger, I went on my way again, but had not 
proceeded but a few rods when I was met by three squaws, 
which gave me a start, supposing there were Indians close 
by, but as it happened, there were none to be seen. I traveled 
all that night, sometimes on the run, and then on the walk, 
sometimes upon the sandy shore, and then up in the bushes. 
My moccasins were so worn out that my feet bled, but made 
the best of my way until about the middle of the night, then 
came to where there were two large canoes loaded with skins, 
which belonged to the savages that were encamped at a small 
distance from the river. I went to the canoes to see if there 
were any thing to eat, and found a bag full of deer and 
rackoon's skull bones, for dressing skins ; it being very dark, 
I took them to be bread — got my hands full, but did not try 
to eat any until I had got some distance from them, but when 
I did attempt it found I was deceived, and was much vexed, 
after having taken so much pains to steal for my life a parcel 
of bones. I made all speed possible to get away, for fear of 
the savages, and traveled until about an hour before daylight, 
when I heard a drum at a great distance off. 

I then began to be encouraged, supposing by the intelli- 
gence I had received that I was not far from some Christian 
people. But upon coming down, I found it to be an Indian 
town, situated upon the other side of the river, all except two 
or three camps which were covered with flags and stood on 
the side of the river where I was, and I went to one of them, 


and seeing nobody except an old squaw and two small chil- 
dren, made bold to go in and warm myself by the fire, for I 
was very much fatigued and worn out, and chilled through 
with the cold, for it rained and hailed all night, which made 
me very uncomfortable, being out in the storm ; after sitting 
down by the fire about half an hour, the old squaw awoke 
and made some movements, so I made the best of my way 
out of the camp, without being discovered ; in the mean time, 
it had got to be daylight, and I repaired to the river side. 
My moccasins being quite worn out, and my feet so sore and 
bloody, anybody else might easily have taken me on the 
ground. After going down the river about a mile, I came to 
a small village of natives, where there was a store kept by a 
Frenchman ; passing by, and turning to go in, the door being 
partly open, I saw the floor covered with drunken Indians, 
and hearing one of them say in their language there is a 
white man, I turned and went round the house, and there 
found a hogpen, where the hogs had just crept out, and crept 
in in their place; but had not been there long before the 
Indians came round the house, looking after me, but not 
finding me, they went in again. Directly a Frenchman came 
out of the house, and as soon as I saw him, presented myself 
to him, and asked him if he could not assist me ; he said he 
could not for fear the Indians would find it out and kill him. 
Furthermore, he said it was not safe for me to be there, for 
the Indians would soon be up and likely to see me, and then 
it would be impossible for me to get clear; but he said I 
must go ten miles farther and I should come to an English- 
man's house where I should be much safer than I was there ; 
moreover he said I must be very quick in going, for the 
Indians would be up after me, and it would not be possible 
for me to get away from them. I immediately went on ten 
miles, which I was two hours in going, being very faint and 
tired, and my feet run with blood. The first house I came to 
was a Mr. M'Cormics. My appearance at this time, may be 
supposed to be dismal — without clothing — almost starved — 
my beard and hair long and frightful. When I came to the 
door and knocked, he bid me come in, and when he saw me 
in that frightful situation, he was almost at his wits end, and 


cried out, where the devil did you come from ? I told him I 
came out of an Indian country ; he asked me, what the devil 
brought you there ? I answered it was my misfortune to get 
among them ; he replied that there was a great many rascals 
whom he would be glad to have slaves to the Indians all their 
days. I thought then I might as well have staid among the 
Indians, as to have risked my life thus far, and be so treated. 
I then asked him if he knew any white people that lived near 
by ; he said I would find them down the river. I thought to 
myself it would be far safer for me to keep round by the lake 
to Detroit, and not be seen any more, as I could not tell a 
friend from a foe. 

When I had gone on about half a mile down the river, 
walking along very slowly, and thinking to myself how I 
should get by some Indian towns undiscovered, that were on 
the way, I met a man by the name of Thomas Smith, an 
Indian storekeeper ; and as soon as he saw me he asked me 
which way I was traveling; I made answer where I could 
get quarters, though he knew from my appearance that I 
had made my escape from the Indians ; he next inquired how 
far I had come ; I told him from the Maumee town, which 
was one hundred and thirty-five miles from the camp. He 
asked me if I had any provisions? I told him it was the 
fifth day since I had eat anything but nuts ; he invited me 
into his house and said he would help me to some, which I 
received very kindly ; for truly he was the first friend I had 
found on the way. When I went in he gave me some 
victuals to eat, but I was so faint that a very little served me. 
I had not been there more than an hour before the savages 
came in pursuit of me, and began to enquire after me ; but 
Mr. Smith put me up-in his chamber, and kept me hid there 
until his boat came from Detroit, when he put me on board 
and sent me on my way thither. But on our way we had two 
or three Indian towns to pass by, and the savages were ap- 
prised of my running away, for they had the description of 
me by the dress I had on, when I came from them ; but the 
boat men gave me other clothes to put on, so that my garb 
appeared like that of a Frenchman ; so I passed by undis- 


covered, although we lay wind bound in an Indian town for 
some days. 

When I arrived at Detroit (April 30, 1793), I flattered 
myself I was secure from any further insult from the sav- 
ages ; expecting the English garrison would protect poor 
captives, that fled to them for protection ; and that if I was 
retaken, humanity would plead for me, in case it was called 
into question, supposing the English people deserved the 
character of being humane. Upon these principles, I took the 
liberty of walking the streets of that place, seeking for em- 
ploy, that might enable me to procure some clothing, being 
almost naked ; but I was very soon convinced that I had 
placed confidence in a people that were not deserving of it, 
and that by being too credulous, had imposed on myself. I 
had been there about three weeks before I could believe my 
own eyes. Within that term of time I had seen many Indi- 
ans that frequented that place, and could not but admire 
how a few days after I was thoroughly convinced, by seeing 
them bring into the English garrison the scalps of men, 
women and children, for which the English would give them 
a large reward, and encourage them to practice their cruel- 
ties upon the Americans. They let them have fire arms, am- 
munition and provisions, and also ardent spirits, to stimulate 
them to action ; at the idea of which humanity must revolt. 

As I was walking the streets in the after part of a day on 
which some savages had come to town with their scalps and 
treasure, which had been taken from the Americans, feeling 
very melancholy, and not observing the Indian faces so 
critically as I ought to have done, my mind being much 
enervated by the frequent disappointments which I had met 
with, I was met by two savages that knew me, and said that 
I had run away from my master, and therefore took me pris- 
oner, and were immediately going to carry me back to Mau- 
mee town. None can conceive the perturbation of mind 
which I experienced at that unlucky meeting, but those who 
have been in a similar situation. My pen or imagination 
would fall infinitely short of a just description ; for the cruel 
savages, eager to begin their torture, and thirsting for 
American blood, with their uplifted tomahawks, crying for 


vengeance, could hardly be restrained from putting a period 
to my life instantly. I begged of them to spare my life a 
little while longer, and asked them if they would not ran- 
som me in case I would procure them the money. They 
seemed more pacified, and accordingly were persuaded to go 
with me a small distance, to one Thomas Smith, an Indian 
trader, whom I was acquainted with (being the person that 
favored my escape from the Indians, by sending me to De- 
troit not long before, and whose name will ever be precious 
to my memory), and when we came to Mr. Smith, I in- 
formed him how my circumstances were, and that unless he 
would befriend me I should be miserable, lost, and undone, 
being threatened with instant death ; but in case the Indians 
deferred it until they carried me to my master, it would be 
still worse with me, for then they would scalp and burn me 
at the stake. He being well acquainted with the Indians, 
said he doubted not one word of it. I then made the most 
solemn promise to bind myself a servant to him till I had 
repaid him for his kindness, provided he would redeem me 
from these savage brutes. Air. Smith being now moved with 
compassion, began to barter with the Indians for my ransom, 
while I stood trembling for fear of an unfavorable issue. I 
understood so much of the Indian language as to be able to 
learn that they held me at a great price and was ready to 
sink into the dust for fear Mr. Smith would not give it. At 
length a bargain was completed, and one hundred and twenty 
dollars was the price. Mr. Smith paid it, and the Indians 
gave him a bill of me, and departed. Language is too poor 
to express the gratitude which I felt towards my kind de- 
liverer, who' could have no other motive in my deliverance 
than the love he cherished in his tender bosom for his fellow- 
men, when suffering. My heart must cease to beat within 
my breast, before I can forget that worthy gentleman. 

Again I was freed from immediate death, and a bound 
servant to the best of masters ; but in a strange country, 
amongst strangers and only -that one friend ; naked and 
hungry, and a great ransom to pay. All these circumstances 
considered, it was but a gloomy prospect. x\ person at ease 
could not enumerate the obstacles I had to surmount, to 


regain my liberty. — When life is compared with wealth, the 
former preponderates ; to rate the estimate, none are com- 
petent, but those who have undergone the trial ; for when 
men's interest is at stake, and life in no danger, they think 
the object great ; but when life is at stake, it will command 
the interest to redeem it, which will be given up with all 
imaginable pleasure. But my case was worse than either, 
for my life was at stake, and I had no interest to redeem it ; 
and had it not been for my kind benefactor, I had soon been 
numbered with the dead. 

After I was liberated, I went directly to work under the 
direction of Mr. Smith, improving every moment of the time 
very industriously, earning a little here and a little there, 
till I was taken sick with the fever and ague, to which the 
inhabitants of that place are subject, especially new comers. 
My constitution being almost ruined, from the hardships I 
endured while an Indian captive, the fever ran exceeding 
high, and for some time entirely laid me up. My spirits 
were very low, almost despairing of recovery. Being desti- 
tute of clothing, the cold fits which preceded the hot, would 
almost force me to the fire ; and having no person to assist 
me, nor speak one consoling word, I was almost driven to 
despair, but in the intermission of my fits, would consider 
better of it, knowing the obligation I was under to Mr. 
Smith, and viewing the many difficulties I had encountered 
and surmounted, was encouraged ; and considering likewise, 
that it was doing injustice to myself and my friend Mr. 
Smith, to give up. The feelings I had for my kind deliverer 
wrought a greater effect on my mind than my own case ; so 
with patience and perseverance I conquered my difficulties, 
and again went to my labor and continued so to do for nearly 
a space of two years ; in which time I had almost earned a 
sum sufficient to have paid my ransom ; and had it not been 
for an unlucky accident taking place in a very short time 
should have completed my deliverance. But my sufferings 
were not at an end in so short a space of time, being again 
involved in trouble and difficulty, not with the Indians, as 
before, but with British tyrants, that heartless savages with- 
out the fear of God could only equal. 


About Christmas I went out to the river Letrench,* to 
clear land for a Mr. Samuel Choat (a hatter by trade), about 
eighty miles distant from Detroit, and after laboring there 
about two months and a half, being one day at the raising of 
a barn for one Henry Boochford, I tarried till evening, and 
a company of jovial lads got together, some of them Ameri- 
cans, who came there with the idea of taking the oath of 
allegiance to George the III. and by that means be permitted 
to take up new lands. We all being merry with liquor, began 
to drink healths. One of my countrymen drank a health to 
the king, and damnation to Washington, in order to ingra- 
tiate himself into the favor of his Majesty's subjects, and 
demonstrate his loyalty to the crown of England, as I sup- 
posed. I was moved by the insult, and to retaliate, drank a 
health to Washington and damnation to the king. Henry 
Boochford immediately accosted me thus, do you damn the 
king? Supposing him to be in a merry humor, and not in 
earnest, I repeated my words. He again said, what, do you 
damn King George ? I replied I did, for what was the king 
to me? He still insisted on whether I damn'd the king. I 
thought him too much of a critic and gave him to under- 
stand me so; telling him he busied himself with that which 
he had no immediate concern with. One word brought on 
another ; being a little exasperated, and feeling as much for 
my insulted Washington, as he did for his king, I inconsid- 
erately repeated my words, and more by saying that I 
damn'd the king and all the royal family, and all such fellows 
as he was, who took their part. By this time our debates 
were exceedingly warm, and continued so for some time ; 
at length the dispute subsided, and I expected a good night's 
rest would have settled the matter ; but it did not prove to be 
the case; it only lay dormant a few days, not extinct, as I 
expected ; for not long after, I was visited by a civil officer, 
with a warrant to apprehend me, which he did, and informed 
me that I was indicted for high treason. He then carried 
me to prison, and put irons on my hands and feet, saying that 

* Letrench, i. e., La Tranche, the early French name of the River Thames, 
in Canada. Eighty miles from Detroit on this river brings the scene of Bunn's 
adventure not far from Newbury, some twenty-five miles southwest of St. 


I must lie in that condition till the sitting of the next ses- 
sions, then to be tried for high treason, and punished as the 
law directed in such cases, which was nothing short of death. 

At hearing this, a dark gloom pervaded all future pros- 
pect of my deliverance. Thus confined in a strong prison 
in irons, and in that cruel condition to remain till next ses- 
sions, which was to sit in about ten weeks, and then to be 
tried, condemned, and executed, was awful, indeed, too 
shocking for human nature to contemplate. I began to wish 
the Indians had prevented this, which they would have done 
instantly, had I resisted them when they met me walking in 
the streets of Detroit. My sufferings were augmented by the 
fever and ague, which so enfeebled me that I was not able 
to walk the prison floor without the aid of some of the sol- 
diers, I was almost destitute of clothing, having barely suffi- 
cient to cover my body. My lodgings were equally as poor, 
only one old ragged blanket to wrap round me ; indeed my 
clothing, lodging and boarding were all of a piece, for one 
pound of bread, and that exceedingly poor, was my daily 

At length the time of my trial came on, and being called 
to the bar and questioned respecting the crime alledged 
against me, I plead not guilty. The court then proceeded in 
the business, but the charge could not be supported against 
me, as I had not taken the oath of allegiance to the king, and 
could not be considered as one of his subjects. Therefore I 
was to be banished from that place instead of being hanged 
— a happy turn in my favor, (tho't I), expecting to be sent 
to the United States. But they took care to prevent that ; 
and to be sure of me (expecting the American army were 
coming the ensuing summer to Detroit) sent me down the 
country, about 350 miles to Niagara, in order to send me 
from thence the first good opportunity to Quebec, there to be 
put on board a man of War. On my arrival at Niagara I 
was taken from the vessel and carried before the governor of 
that place,* and there T underwent another close examina- 
tion respecting my damning the king, and every circumstance 

* John Graves Simcoe was lieutenant governor of Upper Canada at this 
time, and spent a portion of the summer of 1794 at Niagara, although York, 
now Toronto, had then been fixed upon as the site of the provincial capital. 


concerning my situation at that time, so that he might have 
it in his power to prevent and cross me in my greatest ex- 
pectations. After he had made an end of his enquiries, he 
informed me that I was destined for Quebec, there to be put 
on board a ship of war. On hearing this I stood amazed ! — 
At length I roused from my lethergy and on my knees be- 
fore the governor, did most earnestly solicit him to send me 
to my own country, and I should be happy ; but he refused 
— saying that what I had been guilty of gave them the un- 
doubted liberty of disposing of me as they pleased. He then 
sent me from his presence to feed upon my disappointments. 
While I was meditating upon my penurious circum- 
stances, Captain David Shanks,* an officer on the regiment 
called the Queen's Rangers, came to me and asked me how I 
should like a soldier's life? I replied, not at all, for I had 
suffered too much from it already, and only wished to see 
home. He told me it was by no means 1-ikely that I should 
see home very suddenly, and that I had better inlist a soldier 
under him ; if I would consent, he would speak to the gov- 
ernor, and prevent my being immediately sent off to Quebec ; 
if I refused to Quebec I must go — and that in a short time. 
I replied that the conditions were exceedingly hard, much 
worse than I could have expected from any christian people ; 
especially by a people who were bound by friendship and 
alliance to alleviate the sufferings of unfortunate Americans. 
From duty I was sure I was not bound to serve them and 
what I already suffered at their hands was not from any 
demerit of mine. 

* When Lt. Col. Simcoe came to Upper Canada to become its first Governor, 
in 1792, Capt. David Shank closely followed with a portion of Simcoe's old 
regiment, the Queen's Rangers. That famous regiment, originally organized in 
Connecticut and near New York by Col. Robert Rogers, was under Simcoe's 
command during the Revolutionary compaigns of i778-'8i, and was included in 
the troops surrendered by Cornwallis. Simcoe returned to England. That there 
was a reorganization of the Rangers, is evident from the fact that a troop bear- 
ing the name of his old regiment followed him to Upper Canada. There are 
many allusions to Captain Shank in Simcoe's "Journal," chiefly in connection 
with operations around Yorktown and Williamsburg, Va., 1781, where he is 
spoken of as in command of "the cavalry of the Queen's Rangers." "This 
Captain Shank was the same Captain Shank who afterwards, durine Lieut. Col. 
Simcoe's reign as Governor of Upper Canada, settled at York (Toronto), and 
acquired there a large tract of land in what is now the western part of the city, 
in the vicinity of Bathurst Street." (Read's "Life and Times of Gen. John 
Graves Simcoe," p. 105.) In the Archives at Ottawa is a letter from David 
Shank, "Major-Captain Queen's Rangers commanding," dated "Navy Hall 
(Niagara), 29th August, 1796." This, as well as Eunn's statement, would indi- 
cate that a portion of the Queen's Rangers were quartered on the west side of 
the river, others being in garrison at Fort Niagara. 


However the Captain soon convinced me that standing 
out would avail me nothing; it was the governor's will, not 
mine, that would determine the matter, and that I must be 
sent where the governor thought best ; he gave me till night 
to consider upon it, and then to give him an answer. I 
weighed every circumstance, as well as a poor broken 
hearted suffering mortal could in such a situation, and deter- 
mined to enlist ; for peradventure an opportunity might pre- 
sent, which I was ready to embrace, be it sooner or later, 
whereby I could desert the army and go to my friends, whom 
I longed to see to excess. — But if I was put on board of a 
ship, all hopes of escape would be at an end. This my reso- 
lution I put in force immediately, by enlisting under Captain 
Shanks, in the Queen's Rangers, on the 4th of June, 1794. 

I was immediately sent from thence about 120 miles 
around the lake to where the rest of the regiment lay.* There 
I was sick with the ague-fits for some time, but obliged to 
attend exercise, that they might make me expert in the use of 
the firelock. I continued there until some time in August, 
all the while very discontented and much disheartened. As 
my intention was to desert from the British tyrants, the 
means by which to effect my flight were my constant study. 
My countenance plainly demonstrated my uneasiness, and 
doubtless the officer who enlisted me could easily guess my 
designs. No artifice could hide my uneasiness, for it was 
obvious from my discourse to the officer at the time of my 
enlisting, with which my conduct from day to day corres- 
ponded, that it was my intention to desert them the first 
favorable opportunity. 

So matters went on for some time, watching and being 
watched, till the time arrived which I had been so long look- 
ing for. But contrary to my expectations, instead of extri- 
cating myself from those barbarous despots, I became doubly 
involved, and my sufferings augmented to such a degree, 
that my spirit came nearer deserting my body than my body 
did deserting the tyrants ; the particulars of which I am now 
going to relate. 

* Toronto, though the distance is overstated, but not so wildly as is pres- 
ently the case in the narrative, which puts Kingston "at least 400 miles" from 
Toronto ! 


Previous to my setting off, I had frequently conversed 
with many of the soldiers whom I knew to be my friends 
(and in the same predicament with myself) on the subject 
of deserting. They were as fond of it as I was, but were 
afraid of the consequences. They said they were utter 
strangers to the way thro' the woods which we must pass ; 
besides it was morally impossible to avoid being taken up 
by the savages, who were as thick in the woods as mus- 

At length one Samuel Soper, a lad about 19 years of age, 
a new recruit, and who had lately joined the regiment, ap- 
peared extremely anxious to desert ; saying he knew the way 
perfectly well to the American frontiers. We immediately 
agreed to set out the next evening, and for that purpose were 
to meet on the parade ground after roll-call. 

Now the army was so situated, that there were two ways 
by which we might make our escape. As we lay on the side 
of the lake, we might go around the east end, by w r ay of 
Kingston. That looked very tedious, for the distance was at 
least 400 miles, and we were in a miserable condition to un- 
dertake so long a journey through the wilderness, having no 
provisions to carry with us. But my companion insisted 
upon going that way, saying he was acquainted with many 
of the inhabitants; besides he had some relations on the 
road, would help us to provisions, which I conceived we 
should be very much in want of. Notwithstanding the other 
way w r as much the nearest, yet there were insurmountable 
difficulties to encounter, such as a number of garrisons to 
pass ; and we must likewise expect to find the woods lined 
with savages, and of course be taken up before we could per- 
form half our journey. I must confess I wished to avoid the 
red savages, having had sufficient experience of their bar- 
barity ; not that there was much difference in morals, man- 
ners, and practice, between the white savages to wdiom I was 
then a slave, and the red savages from whom I had so lately 
made my escape. To avoid the fetters of both was my de- 

According to our agreement, we met upon the parade, it 
being about nine o'clock at night, and set off towards the 


town, to procure a birch canoe to carry us round the lake, 
supposing that would be the best way, and the least guarded. 
We had not left the parade many minutes before we were 
missed, being continually watched. The whole regiment 
was mustered in quest of us, and depend upon it, we were 
as much alarmed as they were. We durst not travel in the 
road, but kept about seven or eight rods distant from the 
shore of the lake. We had not traveled far before we discov- 
ered two parties in quest of us, one in boats, the other fol- 
lowed the road to town. — It being very dark, which was 
much in our favor, we concluded to approach nearer to the 
shore of the lake, knowing that we stood as good a chance 
of discovering them as they did of discovering us ; accord- 
ingly we leaped down the bank which was almost perpen- 
dicular to the shore, and made a stand to see if we could 
discover anybody. Immediately we discovered two persons 
walking towards us ; we lay still as though we were inani- 
mate. It being very dark, they did not discover us, to our 
great joy. 

After they had passed us, we secreted ourselves among 
some floodwood, for there was no chance of running without 
being discovered by our enemies, as they passed so near us 
as to come close to our heads. When all was still we as- 
cended the bank, and made for the road again ; but just as 
we got there, we heard somebody coming, and soon saw a 
guard of eight or ten men, who passed without discovering 
us; had we been one minute sooner, we must have been 
taken; but our time was not come. We returned again to 
the bushes, and lay there trembling till the coast seemed 
"clear ; we then rose and walked about a mile into the woods, 
where we lay until morning. Supposing ourselves not safe, 
we went into a very thick swamp, and lay there all day. 
Evening being come we very cautiously approached the town 
about midnight, and luckily found a bark canoe which we 
carried to the lake, embarked, crossed a large bay about four 
miles, and landed upon' an island. The wind springing up 
and blowing fresh soon after our landing, we dared not ven- 
ture any farther at that time. Next day, about ten o'clock, 
the wind abated ; and about that time mv comrade began to 


think about something to eat. I told him I thought the risk 
was too great; and that if he went, I should take the boat, 
proceed on, and leave him to abide the consequences. He 
then gave over, and we went immediately into the boat, 
making what haste we could. About noon we arrived at a 
large pond, and my comrade insisted on going ashore to get 
some provisions, saying he could not live any longer unless 
he obtained some; he grieved very much that I was un- 
willing to go ashore, and was sorry he ever set out, having 
a great mind to return and surrender himself up ; I soon 
convinced him of his error, telling him that he should never 
leave my sight and live. 

We now continued our route night and day, as often as 
circumstances would permit. Sometimes the wind would 
blow so fresh that we dared not proceed. Sometimes one 
thing, and sometimes another, would interfere, so that in 
four days we gained but seventy miles. We al length came 
to where there were some inhabitants, of whom we got green 
corn to refresh ourselves, which we really stood in need of, 
and which put new spirits into my comrade. On the fourth 
day, just at night, the w T ind blew exceedingly hard, so that 
we were obliged to run our canoe into a small creek to pre- 
vent her being dashed to pieces ; and on going a few rods up 
the creek, we discovered a family who had lately moved from 
the States, and halted there to look at the land. 

Now about four days previous to our deserting, one John 
Brownrick who deserted from the same regiment, went down 
that way, and got among the inhabitants. They mistrusting 
that he was a deserter, sent word to the regiment that there 
was such a person with them ; upon which a corporal and 
ten men were dispatched to conduct him back. They arrived 
there about an hour after sunset that evening, at which time 
they* had all three got together, as ill-luck would have it, 
going down the lake for the purpose of embarking on board 
our canoe, and proceeding on our journey. Just as we were 
going on board, a part of the guard appeared in sight ; the 
remainder went round a pond which was behind us, and so 
encompassed us that all hopes of escaping were at an end. 

* He means "we." 


When we first saw them we were instantly going on board 
our canoe not mistrusting who they were, nor what was their 
errand, when I saw a man a few rods from us, coming 
towards us with his arms folded up, whom I took to be of 
the camp we had just passed through. I told my comrades 
to look around, and turning to look myself, we soon learned 
the truth to our sorrow ; for the person whom we first saw, 
coming up to us with a pistol in each hand, presented them at 
our breasts, saying we were his prisoners ; — he at the same 
time set up a loud halloo, which was answered by a number 
of soldiers, coming to his assistance from behind us. 

Imagine our surprise at finding ourselves taken, — O 
Heavens ! thought I, what more have I to suffer from these 
merciless tyrants? it is impossible that I can endure the dis- 
appointment. But alas ! there was no withstanding their 
ferocity — no time to think seriously. Driven to the alterna- 
tive of returning or dying on the spot: there were ten 
against three-— they had arms — we had none — the odds for- 
bade a dispute. They threatened us with immediate death 
in case of resistance, bound us most inhumanly, and dragged 
us up the bank of the lake. Not contented with the inhu- 
manity of their treatment to us, at the time they captured us, 
they opened our wounds afresh by threats and blows. They 
made us lie on the ground all night, suffering exceedingly 
from the tightness of the cords with which they bound our 
hands and feet. In the morning we were most inhumanly 
dragged into the boat, which immediately set off for Head- 
Quarters. About the middle of the day, the wind blowing 
fresh, they were obliged to put on shore with the boat and 
lay there until the next day. They still kept us bound, di- 
verting themselves with our condition, and telling us of the 
miseries we must expect to endure on our return to the regi- 
ment ; all which made a deep impression on my mind, being 
well acquainted with the manners and customs of the Eng- 
lish and Indians, and their hatred to the Americans. Indeed 
I had no reason to expect anything better than what they 
told me I should suffer. 

After lying all night on the wet sand, being all three 
bound fast together, we were the next morning dragged into 


the boat as before, and again set out for the regiment. We 
had not gone far before the wind died away, that we were 
obliged to take to our oars. — There being but five of them 
that went with us in the boat, they wanted some of our as- 
sistance in rowing, and proposed to liberate us, provided we 
would row. Thinking it would be much easier than to lay 
there bound in the manner we were, we agreed to the pro- 
posal; they unbound us, and we applied ourselves smartly 
to the oars. We rowed about three miles, our minds all the 
while engaged in forming plans to prevent our being carried 
back to the regiment. We at length slightly made signs to 
rise against the boat's crew, and take the boat to ourselves. 
We were disadvantageously situated in the boat to begin the 
attack, John Brownrick rowed with the after, Samuel Soper 
the middle, and myself the forward oar in the boat. The sail 
being betwixt me and my coadjutors, prevented me from ob- 
serving the critical moment when the mutiny began. All 
the firearms were in the bow of the boat where I was, except 
one musket which lay close to Brownrick. When the mo- 
ment arrived which Brownrick conceived to be the most 
favorable for our purpose, he took the gun that lay by him, 
and presented it to the breast of the man who steered the 
boat, threatening him with instant death in case of resistance 
from him, or any other man of the company. Brownrick 
then snapped the gun at him, but it missed fire, which cir- 
cumstance so emboldened our enemies that they commenced 
a smart defence ; one of them making a stroke at Brownrick 
with his oar, so timely and so well directed, that he was 
knocked down senseless, and lay in that condition, for some 
time, which prevented his assisting us any more. The sail 
had prevented my seeing Brownrick's motions ; his threats 
to the man at the helm, the snapping of the gun, and the 
sound of the paddle on his head, were almost instantaneous, 
following each other in quick succession, and were the first 
notice I had of the matter. I immediately flew to the arms 
in order to secure them, and Galled to Soper to exert himself 
in support of our cause. — Soper thinking the combat un- 
equal, five against two, stepped into the bow of the boat, and 
took up a pistol which lay there. One of the boat crew then 


advanced toward me, to prevent my using the gun I had 
taken in my hands ; as soon as he came within my reach, I 
struck him on the head with the breech of my gun, which 
knocked him down ; the blow fractured his skull, and he lay 
for some time apparently lifeless. As I was a going to re- 
peat the experiment on my next opposer, I was pushed down 
in the bottom of the boat by a man standing behind me, 
which prevented my stroke ; and before I could rise again I 
was struck over the head with the barrel of the gun, which 
I broke when I knocked down the man I first attacked. 
Soper cocked his pistol, and presented it at the head of my 
antagonist, but instead of firing the pistol, as he ought to 
have done, he cried out for mercy in the most moving terms, 
declaring that he had no hand in the mutiny, leaving me to 
support the cause alone against four rugged opposers. — 
Knowing that farther opposition would be useless, I submit- 
ted myself a prisoner. 

The boat's crew being exceedingly exasperated against 
me, to satisfy their revenge, struck me on the head most furi- 
ously with the pistol, which effectually put an end to all 
resistance on my part. After I came a little to myself, they 
ordered me to sit down in the bottom of the boat, which I 
did with great submission. They repeated the strokes on 
my head with a pistol, till I was prostrated in the bottom of 
the boat; they jumped on my breast, and threatened me with 
their malignance, till Soper and Brownrick were bound fast. 
They then bound me most inhumanly, and afterwards bound 
us all three together, and threw us into the bottom of the 
boat, in about four inches of water. We lay in that condi- 
tion from seven o'clock in the morning till we arrived where 
the regiment was, which was ten o'clock in the evening. 

All this time we spent in silent meditation: hardly one 
word escaped us, as we had nothing of a very consolatory 
nature to say to each other. For my own part, I wished that 
death would interfere, & foreclose the expected event: as 
living in such misery was equal to the ignominious death we 
expected shortly to suffer. Either of the crimes we had been 
guilty of demanded our lives. From friendship we had 
nothing to expect; money we had none; the result must 


therefore be death. On our arrival at our place of destina- 
tion some parts of the boat's crew went on shore, and gave 
the officers an account of what had transpired from the time 
of their departure in search of us, to their return. They im- 
mediately sent a guard of a corporal and five men to take 
charge of us, who dragged us from the boat to the shore, as 
they would have done had we been dead, showing us no 
mercy. We lay all night under guard, on the cold ground, 
wet to the skin, without anything to eat or drink. In the 
morning we were unbound, escorted from thence by a strong 
guard to a loathsome prison, and ironed hand and foot. We 
begged for some provisions, but they told us we deserved 
none; and when we urged the necessity of having some, 
saying we must eat or starve, we were answered that starv- 
ing was just what we merited, and that our lives would soon 
make atonement for our crimes. However, not long after, 
we drew the prisoner's allowance, bread and water, and that 
very sparingly dealt out to us. Poor suffering mortals, 
thought I, thus entangled and no hopes of any escape; no 
friend to pity or speak one consoling word to us ; but hun- 
dreds on the other hand, echoing to us death and ignominy. 
We were kept in irons fifteen days, and then sent down to 
Niagara for trial. On our arrival at that place, a court mar- 
tial was summoned, before whom we were brought, and our 
crimes read to us, which were desertion and mutiny. Brown- 
rick, being an old soldier and an old offender, knew the 
martial law better than I did, and objected to our accusa- 
tions; saying it was not consonant to law, to try a soldier 
for two crimes of equal magnitude, at one and the same time. 
The chairman consulted the rest of the court martial on the 
subject, and at length agreed to expunge one of the charges 
exhibited against us. Mutiny was accordingly erased from 
the black account. We were then ordered back to the guard 
house, and the court proceeded in the business till they had 
completed it. We were then ordered into court to hear sen- 
tence read, which was that Brownrick and myself were next 
day to receive a thousand lashes each, Soper but 800, in con- 
sequence of his tender years ; which favor towards Soper I 
thought was quite unnecessary, expecting that neither of us 


would be able to survive more than five or six hundred 
lashes : and what they did to us after we were dead was of 
no consequence. 

The next day the regiment received orders to parade at 
one o'clock in the afternoon. Soper all this while was in 
the greatest agony imaginable, crying and begging for 
mercy, wringing his hands, pleading that his tender years 
and inexperience ought to exempt him from punishment, 
and alleging that I was the sole cause of his deserting, by 
which means he had incurred the displeasure of the officers, 
whom he always loved, and subjected himself to an infamous 
punishment. The officers considering his story very plaus- 
ible, and knowing that when I enlisted that it was much 
against my inclination, seemed inclined to believe all Soper 
said against me. I reminded the officers that I was Ameri- 
can born; that it was impossible for me to forget my coun- 
try and my parents ; that I was not to blame for coming 
among them, fortune had directed me there; and had for- 
tune favored my escape, I should have been rid of their per- 
secutions, which was worth trying for. I owned that I had 
enlisted, but not voluntarily; it was choosing the least of 
two evils. The officers heard what they pleased of my ha- 
rangue, paying but little attention during the whole of it. 

At one o'clock the regiment paraded, agreeably to the 
orders, and we were brought forth to receive our punish- 
ment. Brownrick being the eldest of the three, was ordered 
to be flogged first. He was accordingly tied up, received his 
punishment, and made out to live through it. My turn came 
next. I bade the world and all my friends adieu, not having 
the least expectation to survive the awful trial. They tied 
me up and gave me five hundred lashes. The Doctor stand- 
ing by, ordered me to be released, telling them that I could 
not endure any more at that time. I was accordingly taken 
down but could not stand. — They informed me that on a 
future day, when I should be able, I must expect to receive 
the remainder of my allotted punishment. Soper, who had 
stood by and seen the punishment inflicted upon us, almost 
stupified with grief, expected to be instantly bound with the 
cords from which I had just been released, and receive the 


reward of his desertion ; but his cadaverous appearance so 
moved the tender feelings of the officers, that upon his hum- 
bly begging pardon upon his bended knees, and solemnly 
promising strict obedience for the future, they accordingly 
pardoned him.* 

Brownrick and myself were then carried to the hospital, 
and put under the Doctor's care, there to remain till I should 
either die or recover. I must confess I prayed for death, 
thinking that it could be at no great distance, and hoping 
that it would come like a friend to relieve me from pain. 
The Doctor attended us very assiduously, and a few hours 
after the first dressing of my back, I began to be sensible of 
what had happened to me ; for on cleansing my wounds, and 
removing the coagulated blood and mangled flesh (being so 
cut to pieces that my bowels were almost visable to the naked 
eye), I felt the most excruciating pains, which were in- 
creased by an inflammation that began to prevail, in spite of 
all the Doctor's efforts to prevent it. I continued in this 
situation about nine days, all of which time I lay on my face, 
without a moment's sleep. My wounded back then began a 
gentle suppuration, the pain and inflammation moderated, 
and the Doctor began to be encouraged, telling me with a 
smile that he believed I might recover; which was more 
than he expected two days before, as he expected that the 
inflammation would terminate in a gangrene. At first I was 
much elevated, but then considering that I had received but 
half my punishment, and that returning health would bring 
with it the other half, my spirits were again depressed. But 
God, whose wisdom exceeds all wisdom, and whose ways are 
past finding out, did through his infinite mercy support me 
in the hour of my afflictions, and by his mighty power ex- 
tricate me from impending misery, which none else could 
have done. Blessed be his name. 

About three weeks after the inflammation began to abate ; 
pieces of flesh as large as an egg peeled off my back in many 
places ; after which my wounds began to heal, so that in a 
short time I was able to walk without much difficulty. 

* Although the narrative is not explicit, the probabilities are that Bunn and 
Brownrick were flogged on the parade-ground at Fort Niagara — on soil which at 
that time belonged by treaty to the United States, but from which the British 
did not retire for two years more. 


About three months after, the regiment had orders to 
remove to Toronto, being several days journey, which was 
to be performed by water ; and on the day appointed for the 
embarcation, the troops went on board the boats, about six- 
teen in each boat, and I was on board with them. My back 
was so sore that I could bear no clothing on me, except a 
shirt and a blanket, which I wrapped round my shoulders. 
Soon after we set sail for Toronto, a cold storm of wind and 
rain came on; and notwithstanding my situation, I was 
obliged to endure it with no more covering than my blanket, 
and that a poor one. The boat's crew being very peevish, 
paid no more attention to me than they would have done had 
I been as rugged as one of them ; so that from their inhu- 
manity, and the inclemency of the weather, I suffered amaz- 
ingly. On our arrival at Toronto, I was ordered on shore, 
and from thence to the guard house, where I was visited bv 
the Doctor, till such time as my back was almost well, being 
four months from the time I was punished. Soon after the 
Doctor had dismissed me, I was informed that the time was 
drawing nigh when I was to receive the remainder of my 
punishment, and desired to prepare myself to receive it. I 
told them that I could not undergo the operation and live ; 
they told me that was my look-out, and left me to consider 
of it. After a short pause, I came to the resolution of mur- 
dering myself, preferring an instant death to a lingering one ; 
but upon a second thought, my senses revolted, fearing the 
awful consequences of appearing before an offended Deity 
with the crime of self-murder to answer for. In the mean- 
time, while I was meditating on my present circumstances, I 
was notified to make myself ready against the next day, to 
receive the remainder of my punishment. O. my dear 
friends and countrymen, think on my deplorable circum- 
stances. Father of mercies, lend me your aid to endure what 
is inflicted upon me, and sanctify it to my everlasting good. 
After giving vent to a flood of tears, my convulsed breast 
became more resigned to my fate, supposing my time to be 
short in this transitory world, and a life of endless duration 
soon to commence. So great were my expectations for 
changing this world for a better, that I could have been 


willing to taste instantly the bitter cup of death, and to resign 
my poor afflicted soul into the hands of God who gave it to 
me, and my body to the dust from whence it was taken. All 
thoughts of suicide vanished, and I became more resigned 
to my fate; I only wished for presence of mind, fortitude 
and perseverance, till I had finished my course. The time at 
length arrived for me to prove my resolution ; the regiment 
paraded, and a guard came to escort me to the place of pun- 
ishment; after I came there, I thought it my duty to plead 
with the officer to spare my life, which he did. The officer 
seemed to hearken to my prayer, and examined me with 
great circumspection, respecting my damning the King, and 
what w r ere my motives in doing it, and the reason why I de- 
serted, and after I was taken, how I dared to have a recourse 
to mutiny; and farther, who were my accomplices. I in- 
formed him with great submission, saying, I was as much to 
blame as either of the others, and no more, notwithstanding 
Soper's evidence against me ; for we would have all gone 
clear if we could, which was evident from our rising against 
the boat's crew, notwithstanding our inferiority in numbers : 
but what was done could not be recalled, and if I could be 
forgiven, I would in future behave myself in all respects as 
a good and faithful soldier. Upon the reception of my con- 
fession, the officer put his hand into his pocket and took out 
my pardon, which was from the governor, and read it to me, 
which so moved my feelings of gratitude to God, in mercy 
to me, that I behaved more like an idiot than a man of sense. 
I hopped and skipped about the circle of soldiers that had en- 
compassed me for punishment, thanking heaven for my kind 
deliverance from the immediate jaws of death. 

The officers appeared not a little pleased, supposing they 
had conquered me with judgment mingled with mercy. I 
was then ordered to join the regiment, accordingly I did, 
and there I soon learned the reason of the abatement of the 
lemainder of my punishment. It was Soper's conduct that 
gave rise to it ; for he at the -time of our trial accused me of 
being the sole cause of his desertion, and consequently pro- 
moted the mutiny, to which he declared he was not an acces- 
sory, and the part which he acted was not on account of the 


circumstances of the case in which he was so suddenly in- 
volved, and in evidence of the turpitude, he said he laid hands 
on no person, and the taking up the pistol and presenting it 
as he did, was done through confusion of mind, witnessing 
that at the instant in which he presented the pistol at the sol- 
dier's head, he cried out for mercy, and declared himself 
innocent of the rising; and on these circumstances, at the 
time when I received my punishment, Soper received his 
pardon, and orders to join the regiment, which he did im- 
mediately. A short time after, this honest, innocent Soper 
deserted them ; they pursued him, but to no purpose ; he 
effected his escape ; a happy circumstance for me, for the 
officers were by that convinced Soper was an imposter, and 
that I was in a great measure right in what I related to them 
of his conduct, at the time we deserted together, and after- 
wards; therefore discharged me from the remainder of my 
intended punishment ! My captain was humane, and I sup- 
pose a good advocate in my favor ; he never seemed to take 
any delight in the punishment of a soldier, nor I believed 
ever encouraged the soldiers in complaining of one another, 
but would chide them smartly when they came to him with 
complaints, telling them that half to the complainant was as 
just, where punishment was to be inflicted, as it was when 
interest was to be accumulated by it ; but I must confess the 
officers had it not in their power to do justice to the soldiers 
at all times, for it was impossible for them to know the right 
of the case, the soldiers were so combined together. I be- 
lieve there scarcely ever was a more vicious set of mortals 
collected from the four corners of the globe. They consisted 
of refugee English, Scotch, Irish, Dutch, and American cow- 
boys, except some poor American captives which were pur- 
chased of the Indians, and by some artful means forced into 
their army. Indeed an honest soldier could as well live in 
the fire as to live with them ; for if he would not do as they 
would have him, they would tell him they could easily put 
him out of their way. They frequently sent off parties in 
boats on duty, to some place where they wanted provisions 
collected, or forage, with an orderly officer to oversee them ; 
and if the officer was not quite agreeable to them, when on 


shore, they would purposely knock him overboard, row off, 
and leave him to drown ; and when they returned, the officer 
would inquire into the matter, but to no purpose ; for the 
boat's crew would swear, one and all, that the deceased fell 
overboard by mere accident, and the circumstances were such 
at that present time, that it was out of their power to save 
him, and matters were obliged to pass off. 

After I had been in the regiment a few weeks, and had 
recovered my strength in some measure, one day my captain 
came to me, and asked me if I should like to go a little dis- 
tance from the army and go to work clearing land. I told 
him it would be perfectly agreeable if I could have company ; 
accordingly I chose on Thomas Kenning, a native of old 
Hartford, and off we set, built us a hut according to our cap- 
tain's directions, and went to work. Now I was consider- 
ably indebted to my captain, for when I was sick he pro- 
vided me with a nurse, and would advance money for me 
when I wanted necessaries ; and gratitude forbade my not 
serving him. But after we had labored there till the ensuing 
April, we concluded we had done sufficient to discharge our 
arrearages, therefore under no obligation to king or captain ; 
and if we stayed any longer we should work no more money 
into our pockets, and concluded to set off the first good op- 
portunity ; accordingly we packed up our duds, and about 
three days' provisions that we had in camp with us, and on 
the 27th day of April, at evening, we set off, hope and fear 
constantly alternating, watching and praying for our per- 
sonal safety, and marched on to the shore to find a canoe, 
for by water we must go, and the Indians must find us a 
canoe. After we came to the shore, we traveled on about 
two miles, and found a canoe ; but the Indians were asleep 
hard by it, indeed so near were they we thought it imprac- 
ticable to steal it ; but we could find no other, and something 
must immediately be done, as we soon should be missed, and 
the Indians likely would awake — we agreed to try our skill, 
went softly as possible to the canoe, took it up, and returned 
back undiscovered, then launched it into the lake, got into it, 
and paddled off with all possible speed round the lake, and 
by daylight we were 16 miles from the regiment; then we 


went on shore, and carried our canoe into the bushes, and 
there we lay concealed until twelve o'clock, and observing 
nothing moving that would molest us, we set off, and with 
our paddles almost made our little birch canoe fly ; we 
watched and trembled as we proceeded,- keeping close in with 
the shore, that in case we were chased by boats, we might 
quit oars, and fly to the woods. After we had got about 
three miles upon our second set-out, we discovered a large 
sail boat making after us ; we immediately made for the 
shore, up with our canoe, and retreated to the woods ; but 
the boat passed without discovering us, and made round a 
point of land ; then we had fears that they had discovered us, 
and were going about three miles round, and then to come 
upon our backs, and cut us off from the woods. We in- 
stantly hid our canoe, took up our packs, and marched into 
the woods about one mile, there deposited our packs in a 
thicket of bushes, and went to see if we could discover any- 
thing more of the boat, and whether they had landed or not ; 
and when we came where we expected they had landed, we 
saw them at a good distance, going on their way; then our 
fears abated, and we returned to our packs, and from thence 
to our boats, and carried our boat to the water's edge, in 
order to proceed on ; but soon discovering a boat with In- 
dians a small distance ahead of us, we nimbly retired to the 
bushes, and were not discovered by them. We concluded not 
to venture round that point of land, but to carry the canoe 
across it, being about three miles to the lake ; accordingly we 
did so, launched our canoe, and set off for the opposite 
shore ; it had got to be the dusk of the evening, but we sup- 
posed we could plainly see the opposite shore, and after we 
had paddled till the middle of the night, we could not dis- 
cern any land at all, the wind rising, and soon blew most 
violently, raising an awful swell, the agitated lake tossing us 
upon the surface of the water, then down again into the 
trough of the sea ; the next sea would meet us and raise us 
again, so that we would rise and fall at each alternate swell 
nearly ten feet, and expected every moment to be swallowed 
up by the tide. Our boat would often times take in two or 
three gallons of water, which we instantly baled out with 


our canteen, which we had fitted for that purpose, by taking 
out one of the heads, previous to our attempting to cross. 
In this awful predicament we remained until about an hour 
before daylight, when we arrived at the shore, and at- 
tempted landing, but met much difficulty in performing the 
task ; the swells ran high, and when I stepped from the canoe 
I held her fast by one hand ; but being chilled by the cold 
and water, having sat waist-band high in the latter from mid- 
night, I had lost the use of my legs, and the swell, when re- 
turning from the shore, would carry me with it ten or twelve 
feet back into the lake, and when it returned, would drive 
me with my canoe on the shore again; at length I braced 
myself, and held her till the swell had gone out, and then 
instantly dragged her out of the reach of the swells, and then 
my comrade got out, but could not stand. I fell to chafing 
him until he began to be warm, and by that time the day 
began to dawn, which warned us to retire into the woods, 
for our personal safety. We took up our canoe and carried 
it into the bushes and hid it, and then went on ourselves till 
we were far enough from the shore to be out of danger, and 
then struck a fire, stripped off our wet clothes, dried them, 
w r armed ourselves, eat a few mouthfuls of our provisions, 
and were not a little pleased to think we had so fortunately 
escaped thus far from the regiment. After we had suffi- 
ciently dried our clothing and rested our weary limbs, we 
concluded to return to our canoe, carry it to the shore, and 
proceed ; for we had no time to spare ; but to be too hasty 
in our march would be equally dangerous, and we hardly 
knew when we were too fast or too slow ; for our escape 
depended much on a well-timed march. — When we came to 
the shore we found the wind had much abated ; in a short 
time it was calm, and the agitated lake much quieted. To our 
great surprise we found the lake much broader where we 
crossed the preceeding night, than we expected, for we 
could not discern the opposite shore from which we came, 
and afterwards learned it was 24 miles across. We again 
set off, keeping close in with the land, and went about three 
miles ; then went on shore, the wind again blew fresh, which 
prevented our going any further till it moderated ; we left 


our canoe by the shore side, for there was a small village in 
sight of us, and the land cleared for some distance round it, 
and if we had carried our boat with us we should have been 
discovered. We went to the woods, and tarried till the next 
night, undiscovered by any of the inhabitants; then we re- 
turned to our canoe, and found it was beat to pieces by the 
swells. Now we were in a sad predicament, and determined 
to retire about ten miles to a neighboring wood, which we 
did, undiscovered, and placed ourselves in a thicket of brush ; 
there we gave ourselves full liberty to speak, think and con- 
sult freely on our circumstances ; we had not so much to fear 
from Indians as we had before, as we were out of their 
course, besides that we had passed the most formidable part 
of them; the white people were now most to be feared by 
us ; at length we agreed to follow the lake until we arrived 
at Niagara, and accordingly set off, and traveled for five 
days and a half ; but meeting with large ponds and impos- 
sible swamps that w r e were obliged to go round, and which 
led us about ten miles from the lake, which in some measure 
lost us, concluded we had gone far enough ; accordingly 
shaped our course for the head of the lake, and after we had 
travelled about ten miles, we arrived at the lake, about eight 
miles below where we expected ; then retired again into the 
woods, and set ourselves down to rest, in a place where we 
were secure from all but strolling parties of English and 
Indians ; the Indians were what we most feared, for they 
always had a large dog with them, and their dogs would be 
as likely to find us, as to find game, and would not leave us 
when found, sooner than they would leave a buck. We con- 
tinued there until dark, interrupted by nothing in reality, 
though imagination would rouse us ; then we marched on 
very cautiously to the head of the lake, to Niagara, and at a 
distance from the fort, viewed it, seeing nothing stirring to 
molest us; our being well acquainted with that place gave 
us some advantage in securing ourselves ; we knew their 
customs, their travels by night and day, and governed our- 
selves accordingly. We agreed to take the river Niagara, 
where it empties into Lake Ontario at Fort Niagara, and 
follow it, to see if we could not find an Indian canoe to pass 


the river; we traveled about six or eight miles, but found 
nothing to help ourselves; then we returned within sight 
vi the garrison, and observed nothing stirring that would 
harm us ; we shaped our course for the Genesee country, 
and traveled on till daylight began to dawn ; we then retired 
to a thicket of brush at some distance from the road, and lay 
there waiting the approach of night with great impatience, 
our provisions being almost spent, and no means in our 
power to recruit them, and also exceedingly fatigued with 
our journey, and weakened for want of the common comforts 
of life; but the magnitude of our object supplied the place 
of provisions, and the hopes of our future enjoyments can- 
celled the past and present hours of adversity. Notwith- 
standing, our case was urgent, and there was no time to be 
lost; thus urged on to improve industriously every minute 
of our time, for we must in case we did not soon complete our 
undertaking, perish with hunger, or fall a sacrifice to British 

About twenty-one miles from Niagara, there was a gar- 
rison kept by the English called Chippawa (an Indian name) 
by which we must pass, and from that at the distance of 
about eighteen miles another garrison, being Fort Erie, the 
river Niagara passing betwixt that, and the Genesee country, 
which could be crossed no other way than in ferry boats ; so 
that we had nearly forty miles then to travel before we could 
arrive at the Genesee country ; however, we encouraged each 
other, and in the dusk of the evening set out with a consid- 
erable share of fortitude, and a determined resolution to per- 
severe. The inhabitants being very thick, we were obliged 
to keep the woods as much as possible ; thus we traveled on 
until we came to the Chippawa garrison ; thus we were 
obliged to take the road, traveling on till at length we met 
five or six men standing in the road ; coming up to them 
they accosted us, how do you do, gentlemen ? We answered 
them as politely as possible, and without any visible con- 
cern ; they asked us, where we were bound ; I answered, 
Detroit. Whither do you come from? I answered the 
States. What parts? I answered, Schenectady. One of 
them informed me he came from there not lone: since, and 


did I know any of the people of that place? I answered him 
that I made no particular acquaintance with any person, as 
my stay there was very short; for soon after my arrival, I 
took boat and came directly to Detroit ; and to prevent any 
farther inquiry, I bade them all good night, and passed on. 
We had not gone far before we met three more, who exam- 
ined us a little. I answered them and moved on, being con- 
siderably alarmed expected to be taken up, or that an attempt 
would be made to take us up, which would be nearly as fatal ; 
but we met with no more interruption until we came near 
the garrison ; then we had to seek for the bridge, which was 
not far from us ; we went on with much caution ; at length 
we discovered the bridge, a centinel placed not far from it, 
and on the left side of the road, at a small distance, was the 
garrison ; on the right stood a large store-house ; we made 
for the back side of it, and got there unbeknown to the cen- 
tinel, and when he walked from us we could creep along, 
and when he came towards us, we lay still, till at length we 
got on the bridge ; then we were discovered, and ran with 
all speed across the bridge, betaking ourselves to the woods, 
and traveling about two miles, and there secreted ourselves 
in the thickest of brush rejoicing at our good fortune in mak- 
ing our escape thus far.* We took a short nap now and then, 
till night coming on, we set off, following the woods not far 
distant from the road that led to Fort Erie, till we arrived 
at the river Niagara, near the fort. We searched very closely 
for a boat to cross the river, but could find none ; then we 
set off down the Niagara, and traveled about six miles, and 

* Writing about 1800, George Heriot, deputy Postmaster General of British 
North America, said of "Chippawa or Fort Welland": "A wooden bridge is 
thrown across this stream, over which is the road leading to Fort Erie. The 
former fort consists only of a large block-house near the bridge, on the northern 
bank, surrounded by lofty pickets; it is usually the station of a subaltern officer 
and twenty-five men, who are principally engaged in conducting to Fort Erie the 
transport of stores for the service of the troops in the upper part of the prov- 
ince, and for the engineer and Indian departments." Heriot's narrative ("Travels 
through the Canadas," etc., London, 1807) is so impersonal that one cannot fix 
by it the date of his visit to the Niagara; but as he refers to the year 1800, and 
as his description of Niagara Falls was published in the London Sun in 1801, it 
was probably in that or the preceding year that he was here. The conditions at 
Chippewa (to use the modern but less correct spelling) when Bunn made his 
flight across the bridge, were doubtless much like those which Heriot found a 
few years later. 


coming to Col. Powell's* near the river side, we found a 
large boat which could have carried a dozen or 15 men. We 
immediately went on board, and set off from the shore ; but 
meeting some ice, we drifted a little way, and landed upon 
an Island ; then one of us went on shore, taking hold of the 
boat's painter, the other in the boat, with an oar kept her off 
from the shore, and dragged the boat round the Island ; then 
set off again, and arrived on shore about two hours before 
daylight, and made our boat fast, then retired to the woods, 
and sat down securely, and took from our pockets all the 
provisions we had left, which was only about two ounces of 
bread a piece ; we ate it ; and had eighty miles to travel be- 
fore we could arrive at the Genesee Settlement ; but we were 
much encouraged, not doubting but we should soon arrive 
among our friends and relations. We again set out, and 
traveled till we came to a foot path that led from Fort Erie 
to the Genesee; and for fear of meeting with Indians, we. 
retired some distance from the path, and lay there until about 
one the next morning ; the moon rising, we steered by that, 
and traveled till daylight, then retired as before; and so 
lying by in the day, and traveling by night, in two days we 
arrived at the Genesee, after a tedious travel of ten days in 
the woods, without any thing to cover us but the heavens, 
and only three day's provision. 

We set out on our journey the twenty-seventh of April, 
and arrived on the seventh of May, in the year 1795, where 
we were cordially received by the inhabitants, and most 
kindly treated. 

Perhaps my readers may be desirous to know who my 
comrade was who came with me, and the place of his abode ; 
his name was Thomas Kenning, a native of Old Hartford, 
who, being taken by the Indians not long after I was, carried 

* On the Canada shore opposite the head of Grand Island. Whether it was 
across the upper end of that island, or Strawberry, or even Squaw Island, fur- 
ther up stream, that Bunn and his companion made their way, we may be sure 
that the footpath they presently struck into was the Indian trail leading to the 
old ferry at the famous "black rock," about a quarter of a mile north of the 
present ferry landing. Later on this trail became the Guide-board Road, a part 
of which coincided with Porter Avenue (east of Prospect Avenue) and North 
Street, to the corner of Main, where they came into the ancient highway that 
led them to the Genesee. 


to the Maumee town, from which place I had but a short 
time before deserted. The Indians not fancying him, for he 
did not understand business very well, sold him to an Indian 
trader for five pounds ; the Indian trader sent him to Detroit, 
to labor, thereby to redeem himself, and it was there 1 got 
acquainted with him. Being very intimate, we kept together ; 
and after I had enlisted, to continue in company he also en- 
listed; and after taking the oath of allegiance we each re- 
ceived our bounty, which was ten guineas. So that from the 
time of our acquaintance to the present day, is something 
more than two years and a half. He being a shoemaker, 
went immediately to work, after our arrival at Genesee ; and 
after I had recovered in some measure from the fatigue 
which I underwent on our journey, and from the bad state 
of health which I was in, went to work to get me some cloth- 
ing and money to bear my expenses home. What I earned, 
and what the inhabitants kindly bestowed upon me, bro't me 
safe in Rehoboth, on the first of October, 1795. 

I omitted in the first part of this journal, to finish the 
account of my friend, Mr. Smith, who ransomed me from 
the Indians. After I was put in prison for damning the king, 
I was indebted to Mr. Smith, and all probability of his re- 
covering any more of me, was at an end, he expected me to 
be hanged ; but it proved more favorable to me, than he or 
I expected ; some time after I had enlisted, we happened to 
meet and he seemed very glad that my life was spared ; and 
after some talk he asked me if I was willing to make a set- 
tlement with him; accordingly we settled accounts and 
found a balance due to him of something more than fifteen 
dollars ; he kindly asked me if I could let him have a small 
part of it, without much injuring myself. I told him I felt 
a pleasure in helping him, and went directly to a friend that 
kept my money that I had taken for my bounty, and gave him 
his pay to a farthing, which pleased him well ; he then 
wished me well, and w r e parted, and I never saw him after- 
wards ; for soon after, the Indians went to fight General 
Wayne's army, and a great number of the first characters in 
Detroit dressed themselves in disguise, and went with them, 


to encourage them ; and in that action my friend Mr. Smith, 
was killed, with many other white people of that place. 

Morris Doyle (who left the Indians at the same, and 
who accompanied me, till we quit the canoe) being an old 
countryman, and not used to the woods, could make no hand 
in traveling in the night ; he soon lost sight of me, returned 
to the boat, and embarked for he knew not where, but kept 
on till he arrived at an island in the fork of Glaze* river, and 
there went on shore, supposing he had made the main land, 
and set his canoe adrift ; but after daylight he too late dis- 
covered his mistake ; for he was so completely encompassed 
with water, that he could not get off, without the Indians 
come & carried him. He walked round the island, to see if 
anybody appeared, so that he might go off ; and about twelve 
o'clock he observed an Indian coming directly to the island, 
to hunt; when the Indian was out of sight, Doyle took his 
canoe and made his escape from the Island to the shore of 
the river ; then making the best of his way down the river 
five or six miles, but being without provisions, he called at 
an Indian camp. The Indians at the camp having heard that 
Doyle had escaped from the Indians up the river, took him 
into safe keeping, and sent word that he was in their pos- 
session. Upon this, they immediately came and took Doyle 
into custody, and were about to put him to death, when there 
happened to be an Indian trader present, by the name of 
Robert Wilson, who bought Doyle for two half joesf and 
sent him into Detroit. I afterwards saw him at that place, 
and labored with him a number of days ; but having gone 
out with a party of the King's Surveyors, he broke his leg 
and died in the woods. 




ERIE COUNTY. ' ss ' 

I, Matthew Burnt, the author of the above Narrative, am 
duly sworn, and testify, that the above Narrative is a true 

* The Auglaize. 

tA joe was a Johannus, a Portuguese coin worth about $8. Possibly the 
abbreviation here used was applied to other coins. 


statement of the Life and Adventures of the above named 
Matthew Burnt, and that I am the identical person above 
named in this Book, and who subscribes his hand and name 


Sworn and subscribed before me, 
this 30th day of October, 1826. 


Com'r &c. for Erie County. 



November the fourth, in the year ninety-one, 

We had a sore engagement near to Fort Jefferson ; 

St. Clair was our commander, which may remembered be, 

Since we have lost nine hundred men in the western territory. 

At Lexington and Quebec, where many a hero fell, 
And likewise at Long Island, as I the truth can tell, 
For such a horrid carnage my eyes they never see, 
As happened on the plains near the river St. Mary. 

Our militia were attacked just as the day did break, 

But soon were overpowered and forced to retreat; 

Then they killed Capt. Oldham, Lament and Briggs likewise, 

Such horrid shouts of the savages that sounded thro' the skies. 

Young Major Butler was wounded the very second fire, 
Whose manly breast did swell with rage, and forced to retire: 
Like one distracted he appeared, and thus exclaimed he. — 
"Those fiends of hell shall win the field, or revenged I will be. 

We had not long engaged when General Butler fell, 
He cries, "my boys, I am wounded, pray take me off the field ; 
My God! he cries, what shall we do, we're murder'd every man, 
Go charge my valient heroes, and beat them — if you can." 

He turned his back against a tree and there resigned his breath, 

And like a valiant hero, sunk in the arms of death: 

Ten thousand seraphs did await, his spirit to convey, 

And through the bright ethereal they swiftly bent their way. 


We made a charge, and gained the ground, which did our fears 

But soon were overpowered, and forced to retreat, 
They took from us our cannon, which grieved our hearts full sore, 
Such horrid shouts of triumph like hell-hounds they did roar. 

We made a charge and gained our guns, we fought like hearts of 

Till many a brave American lay slaughtered o'er the field, 
Then they killed Major Ferguson, which caused his men to cry, 
Don't be dismayed, says Capt. Ford, we fight until we die. 

These words he had scarce uttered, when he received a ball, 
And likewise our Lieutenant Spear down by his side did fall, 
Stand by your guns, says gallant Ford, for I am not yet slain, 
I will lay me down and bleed a while, and rise & fight again. 

Says Major Gibson to his men, my boys be not dismayed, 

I am sure the Pennsylvanians they never were afraid. 

Ten thousand deaths I'd rather die, than they should win the field, 

Soon he received a fatal ball, which caused him for to yield. 

Our cannon balls were all soon spent, our artillery men were slain, 

Our musketry and riflemen a firing did sustain, 

Three hours or more we fought them there, and then were forced 

to yield, 
Whilst three hundred bloody warriors stood hovering round the 


Says Major Clark, my heroes bold we can no longer stand, 
Therefore we will form in order the best way that we can. 
The word retreat sounded around, which raised a hue & cry, 
Then helter skelter through the woods, like lost sheep we did fly. 

We left our wounded on the field, O heavens ! what a stroke, 
Some of their thighs were shattered, and some their arms were 

broke ; 
With tomahawks and scalping knives, they robbed them of their 

In fiery flames of torment then tortured them to death. 

To mention my brave officers is what I mean to do, 

No son of mars ne'er fought more bold, or with more courage true; 

To Captain Bradford I belong, of the artillery, 

He fell that day among the slain, and a valliant man was he. 

There is Kelly and young Anderson, whose names shall be re- 
vered ; 
They fought like brave Americans, but death was their reward. 
Full twenty paces in the front they of their men did go, 
Their enemy soon marked them out and proved their overthrow. 

There is Purdy and young Bates, subalterns of great power, 
So boldly they led on their men, three-quarters of an hour, 


Till they were slain upon the field, like saints resigned were they, 
There Bates smiling said, fight on, while bleeding thus he lay. 

Young Major Dark received a ball close by his father's side, 
These feeble hands shall be revenged on my son's death he cried, 
He quickly drew his sword in hand, and through the ranks he flew, 
And like a brave Virginian the savage there he slew. 

Of all the men that fell that day, young Major Hart was best; 
One pleasing consolation, his soul has gone to rest, 
No blooming chief was there to frown, alas, his glass is run, 
He has gone to future happiness, and dwells beyond the sun. 

The day before our battle fifteen hundred men we had, 

But our old gouty general had used us very bad, 

He whip't, and hung, and starved his men, in barbarous cruelty, 

Thus negro like he did behave, on the western territory. 

Come all you brave Americans, lament the loss with me, 
It was by bad mismanagement, as you may plainly see, 
This is the ending of my song, excuse me if you please, 
St. Clair's Defeat it may be called, so praise it at your ease. 






The story of David Ramsay is in some respects the most remark- 
able of all the records of adventure in the region of Lake Erie and 
the Niagara. For its preservation we are indebted to Capt. Patrick 
Campbell, a Scotchman, who traveled through a part of Canada and 
Western New York, in the years 1791 and 1792. In March of the 
latter year, he set out from Fort Niagara for New York, with David 
Ramsay as guide ; and on the way, while stopping at Canawagas 
(now Avon), Ramsay told to Capt. Campbell the story of his ad- 
ventures among the Indians. The next year, at Edinburgh, Capt. 
Campbell published his "Travels in the interior inhabited parts of 
North America," which has long been one of the excessively rare 
narratives of early travel in America; it is perhaps the rarest of ail 
books of travel relating to the Niagara region, to which it pays much 
attention. The author made especial study of the advantages which 
this region, and other sections visited, offered for emigrants from the 
Highlands, and his book is in a sense a report on that subject; but 
he was a good observer and a graphic writer; greatly enjoyed hunt- 
ing, and was entertained by the representative people, wherever he 
sojourned, one of his hosts — on the Grand River in "Upper Canada" 
— being Capt. Joseph Brant. He made many good friends at the 
settlements and garrisons on the Niagara, especially among the 
British officers at Fort Niagara ; and it was there that he fell in with 
David Ramsay. 



This hardy adventurer's story is told in the following pages, as 
narrated by him to Capt. Campbell, and as written out by the latter. 
That narrative ends as David is brought captive to Fort Niagara, not 
by Indians, as so many hundreds were, but by the British, to whose 
cause he was loyal. Capt. Campbell learned from others that when 
the Indians heard that David Ramsay was at Fort Niagara, they 
gathered there in great numbers, and insisted that the British give 
him up to them ; and on the refusal of the Governor — Simcoe — 
threatened to set fire to the fort. "They became at last so clamorous, 
that the Governor sent a party, unknown to the Indians, to Montreal 
with David, where he was fifteen months in prison ; and as no proof 
could be brought against him in a regular trial, and everybody knew 
he acted in self-defense only, he was liberated. And what is strange, 
and what the like neVer was known before, is, that he now lives in 
intimacy and friendship with that very tribe, and the sons and daugh- 
ters of the very people he had killed. They gave him a grant, regu- 
larly extended upon stamped paper, of four miles square of as good 
lands as any in Upper Canada." Mr. Campbell continues : 

"In the Genesee country, when with me, I saw him write a letter 
in the Indian tongue, to some chiefs then assembled in Philadelphia, 
at the request of Congress, directing them how to act in the matter 
under deliberation. I told him that it was in vain, as nobody there 
could read it. He said that anybody could read the words and that 
the Indians would know the meaning of them. On another occasion 
I told him that I was informed, as I really was, that when the In- 
dians got drunk, but only when drunk, that they still threatened to 
kill him ; at which he seemed extremely displeased, and swore that 
if he knew any one of them that dared threaten him he would be 
about with them yet ; that it was he that was. ill-used, and not them ; 
that his goods were taken from him, and himself threatened to be 

"David never was married ; nor do I think he ever will. Skins to 
the amount of 150 1. being seized upon him, which he, in common 
with many others, was smuggling into the States, has reduced him; 
and at present he has no other employment than that of carrying 
dispatches and money for gentlemen of the fort and district of 
Nassa" — Nassau was one of the early names for the Canadian dis- 
trict of Niagara — "to and from any place they may have occasion. 
His honesty and fidelity is so well known, that he is entrusted with 
sums of money to any amount, without requiring any token or receipt 
for the same; and I was told, when with me on his way to New 
York, that he had seven or eight score of pounds belonging to dif- 
ferent people, sent for articles which he was to bring them from that 

"David was a staunch friend to the British during the last war; 
and was well known to those who were in high command, and had 
ample recommendations and certificates of his services from them. 
Scarce a corner of the British Colonies or United States but he is 
acquainted in. 


"The strange adventures of his life are so well known, that I was 
told that he was offered 200 1. for a detail of them from a printer in 
Albany. I put the question to himself. He only acknowledged 100 1. 
from a printer in New York ; but he declined to accept of it, as he 
thought it too troublesome. Yet I know that he would have given it 
to me, had we had time and leisure; as he sat up a whole night, 
when we were traveling, to give me what I have already inserted, for 
which I consider myself much obliged to him. 

"David told me that he never was in Britain since he left it very 
young but once, when he landed in England, on his way to Scotland 
to see his relations ; and knowing that a sister of his was married 
and settled there in a respectable line, he waited on her; but as he 
was in the Indian dress, though excellent of its kind, she refused to 
acknowledge him for her brother ; and as he did not know but his 
friends in Scotland might do the same, he returned to America, 
where he means to end his days ; and as the country is now fast set- 
tling in the neighborhood of the grant of lands he got from the In- 
dians, he is in hopes it will yet turn out to good account for him." 

One can but regret that we have no further record of what befel 
David Ramsay, no other glimpse of perhaps the most melodramatic 
figure in the history of the Niagara region ; an honest man, whom 
people freely trusted with their money, notwithstanding his little dif- 
ficulties with Government, for smuggling furs across the Niagara ; 
evidently a worthy and faithful fellow, who, though he modestly ac- 
knowledged having killed but eight Indians, Capt. Campbell says, on 
information received from others, had actually slain eleven, "but," 
adds the captain, "as I give ample faith to his own narrative, and as 
he in every other respect seemed to be a man of strict veracity, hon- 
esty and integrity, I disregarded what others say, and trust to his 
own account." 

A few words should be added regarding Capt. Patrick Campbell 
himself, but for whom we should probably have no knowledge of 
Ramsay. He was of a famous Highland clan and family, and in the 
neighborhood of Fort William and throughout Inverness-shire, 
raised the company of hard fighters which he commanded, in the 
42d Regiment, the redoubtable Black Watch. He had three sons 
who served also in the same regiment, at the Battle of the Nile, 
where two of them were killed. A Lieutenant Macdonald of the 
same regiment, married Capt. Campbell's daughter Mary; and their 
daughter, Margaret, married William Barclay, a Scotch lawyer, who 
moved to America and to Buffalo and for some years was book- 
keeper for David Bell, for many years a well-known ship-builder 
here. The Barclays lived for a time at Fort Erie. Their daughter, 
the great-granddaughter of Capt. Patrick Campbell, is Mrs. W. 
Cleveland Allen of this city, and her parents are buried in the Allen 
family lot at Forest Lawn. Mrs. Allen possesses numerous interest- 


ing relics of her family, including a fine miniature of her great- 
grandfather, in his regimental uniform ; the medal awarded to one 
of his sons for gallantry in the campaign against Napoleon in Egypt ; 
and silhouette portraits of her grandmother, Mary Macdonald. Mr. 
Allen, it may be added, is a son of the late Hon. Lewis F. Allen, of 
this city, and a cousin of ex-President Grover Cleveland. 



David Ramsay was a native of Scotland, born in the 
town of Leven in Fife. He was my guide through the wil- 
derness, from Upper Canada through the Genesee country 
to the settled parts of the province of New York. His story, 
as given me by himself, was nearly in the following words. 
It was authenticated and confirmed by numbers of people of 
my acquaintance in Canada, New York, and most other 
parts of America through which I travelled. 

"I left my native country in the early part of my life, 
and entered on board a transport bound for Quebec in the 
capacity of ship's boy, and served the British till the close of 
the French war in 1763, when I settled upon the Mohawke 
River, in the province of New York ; I afterwards engaged 
with the Fur North West Company of Montreal, to trade 
with the Indians upon the. upper lakes of Canada. After 
serving them for some time I returned to the Mohawke 
country where I resided until a boy, a brother of mine, 
named George, arrived from Scotland; and having the 
assistance of this lad, I thought of trading with, the Indians 
on my own account, and for that purpose purchased a large 
battoe at Skennecktity, and procured credit to the amount of 
150I. York currency's worth of goods, and proceeded with 
these up the Mohawke river to Fort Stanix.* Crossed the 
portage down Wood Creek, to Lake Canowagas, from 
thence down the river that empties into Lake Ontario, at 

* Stanwix, now Rome, N. Y. 


Oswego; and proceeded up that lake, the river Niagara, to 
the Falls of that name. Carried my battoe and goods across 
the portage to Lake Erie; from thence to the river Sold 
Year, or Kettel Creek,* and proceeded up that river for 
sixty miles, where we met tribes of different nations of Indi- 
ans encamped for the purpose of hunting, and informed 
them of my intention of residing among them during the 
winter, and erected a sufficient house of logs which I divided 
in the middle by a partition ; the one end I used as a kitchen, 
or place for dressing our victuals, and in the other I kept my 
goods, and placed our bed. 

"I continued bartering my goods for the furs till towards 
January 1772, when two Ibawat Indians came down express 
from Detroit to Niagara, carrying with them a war belt, and 
publishing, as they went along, that it was the intention of 
the Ibawas, Otowas, Potervatomies, and other western Indi- 
ans, next spring to wage war against the British and Six 
Nations. There was an Otowa Indian from Detroit that 
hunted close by the place where I lived, and upon the return 
of the Ibawa men from Niagara, they remained two or three 
days with me. They all visited me frequently, and behaved 
to me with the greatest civility. Upon the departure of the 
Ibawa men, the Otowa Indian came often to my house and 
boasted of the great feats he had performed, particularly of 
his having killed three Englishmen like me, and said he 
would think nothing of killing me and my brother also. I 
told him that if any Indian should offer to trouble me, I 
would kill one and hurt another. The Otowa Indian came 
frequently to my house for rum, which he as frequently re- 
ceived, I always repeating my former threat to him of killing 
one and hurting another, should I be molested. 

"About the 20th of February some families of Ibawa In- 
dians, and one family of the Messessagoe Indians, came and 
resided in the neighborhood of my house. The Otawa 
Indian formerly mentioned, accompanied by the other Indi- 
ans, used to come to my house and demand rum, ammuni- 

* Kettle Creek discharges into Lake Erie a short distance west of Long 
Point. It is difficult to recognize in Capt. Campbell's "Sold Year" the o\A 
French name of the stream, "Riviere a la Chaudiere." 

t Ojibway. 


tion, clothes, &c, &c, which I did not think prudent to 
refuse them as their number then amounted to forty. The 
Messessagoe Indian was a poor infirm old man, and had a 
family of ten children to provide for, and I having compas- 
sion for him gave him snow shoes and other necessaries for 
the support of his family, and also used to assist him to 
carry home the venison he killed. The whole Indians were 
in use to assemble to the house of the Otowa Indian and 
send for rum to me. One night the Otowa Indian and his 
companion came to my house for rum. I suspecting they 
had a design upon my life, searched them and took three 
knives from them, and sent them away without giving them 
any. A few nights thereafter the Otowa came to me for the 
loan of a gun to shoot a Deer he said he observed near the 
house ; I suspecting him as formerly, immediately got up out 
of bed, and pretending to be intoxicated, made a great noise, 
at which the Otowa went out of the house, and I followed 
him as far as his hut, carrying with me a large knife. I 
found there the whole other Indians, and among the rest the 
old Messessagoe Indian, who upon perceiving me hung down 
his head, and pretended to be asleep. I frequently asked 
them what [use] they intended to make of a gun, as there 
was no Deer to be seen, but never received a satisfactory 
answer; I then returned to my own house, as did all the 
Indians to their respective huts. The old Messessagoe 
Indian fearing the other Indians meant to kill him, and hav- 
ing cause to suspect they would make an attempt upon him 
that night, carried with him two Deer skins, his gun, and 
ammunition, and placed himself upon the road which led to 
his dwelling, so as to intercept them if they should come. 
He did not continue long in this situation when he fell 
asleep, and the other Indians coming upon him, took his gun 
from him, and demanded the cause of his being there. The 
Messessagoe, afraid to acknowledge the truth, pretended 
that he had dreamed that the Senekee nation of Indians that 
night were to kill all the Indians that were hunting, and that 
he had placed himself where they found him to intercept 
them. Soon afterwards the old Messessagoe, his family and 
all the families of the Ibawa Indians, left the place; there 


only remained the Otowa Indian, his companion, a woman, 
and two children, the one of whom was nine, and the other 
thirteen years of age. And being tired of giving away my 
goods and rum for nothing, and being also much exasper- 
ated with the many insults I met with, resolved to refuse 
them every thing they demanded, and repel force by force, 
while I was able, whatever the consequences might be. 

"Upon the night of the 15th of February, the Otowa 
Indian came to my house, and easily entered the outer apart- 
ment, where he alighted a fire with straw, and as I knew 
that he could come with no other intention at that time of 
night than to kill me, for which cause alone he and the others 
staid behind the rest, I stood with my spear ready to receive 
him. The Indian sought admittance into the inner apart- 
ment, where I slept and kept my goods, which being refused 
him, he broke in the door with an axe, and on his entering, I 
who was ready waiting for him, struck him with a spear on 
the breast, and following my blow from the inner to the 
outer apartment, threw him down on the floor, and rammed 
him through; on this he called out that he was killed. At 
this instant I received a violent blow from behind, which 
nearly brought me to the ground, on which I turned about, 
and struck that person with the shaft of my spear. By the 
light of the moon which shone bright, I saw another Indian 
coming to the door with a long knife drawn in his hand. I 
sprung out and struck him with my spear in the breast, and 
killed him also, I then returned and killed the one who 
struck me in the dark. After this, I waited in expectation 
that the whole tribe had returned, but after some ti«ie, and 
seeing none come I understood that it was only the family 
that staid behind, who had a design upon me, that I had 
then killed. These I scalped according to the Indian custom. 
and having dug a grave for them in the snow at the gable 
of my house, put them all in together ; at the same time re- 
peating, that they should never more quarrel with me nor 
any other person. The Indian children still remained, and 
being from their youth unable to provide for themselves, 
would have inevitably perished had not I sent for them.* 

* Had not David been humane and generous enough to send his brother for 
them to his own house, his conduct and behaviour to the children, clearly evince, 
that in killing the Indians he was actuated by motives of self-defence, and not 
from a thirst for blood. — Note by Capt. Campbell. 


"I still dreading that the Indians who were formerly 
encamped in the neighborhood might return, and being un- 
willing that my brother should be hurt, and being also 
assured, that if any Indians discovered the children with him, 
that they would conclude what really had happened, I there- 
fore removed them and my brother to a small valley about a 
mile distant from the house where I erected a sort of shade 
for them, and carried provisions to them as they required. 
From the top of one of the hills that formed the valley, my 
brother could easily see my house, and from its smoking, or 
otherwise, discover whether or not I was in life; and if I 
happened to be killed, I gave him directions to proceed with 
the children to Detroit, a distance of 150 miles. * 

"In about twenty days, the ice in the river broke up, and 
I judging it high time for me to leave my present comfort- 
less situation, went for my brother and children, and having 
put my furs and other goods, consisting of five Christian 
packs, chiefly Deer skins aboard of my boat, proceeded with 
them for Niagara, it being unsafe for us to go to Detroit as 
the war then raged there. We proceeded down the river, as 
far as Long Point, and the drift or floating ice having 
choaked up the entrance to the Lake, we were forced to go 
ashore and encamp at that place. 

"Some days after this, being out in the creek with my 
boat, I discovered two men in a canoe coming towards me. 
On' their coming near, I challenged them, and bade them 
keep off ; but they laughed at me, and still came on, saying 
that they came in a peaceable manner, upon which we went 
to my Wigwam. I asked where they staid, and if there were 
any other Indians in the neighborhood. They answered none 
but them, and pointed to a large pine tree, upon a height, nine 
or ten miles off, and that there they resided. After giving 
them a little rum, they went off, saying they would return 
next day to trade with me. The wind blew very hard at 

♦After these attempts on his life, and what ensued in consequence of it, no 
man but David himself would think of staying alone in the place; but it would 
seem, that David would have faced all the Indians of America, and devils in 
hell, before he would abandon his property, which he could not then carry 
away. He therefore slept in the house, and killed venison for his brother, the 
children, and himself during the day. — Note by Capt. Campbell. 


south west, which scattered all the ice in the bay, and the day 
following I went out in the morning to shoot Ducks. When 
I came a-shore, being wet, I stripped all off excepting my 
shirt and breech cloth, and hung them up to dry. After 
breakfast my brother and the two children went to gather 
juniper berries ; I desired my brother to take his gun, and 
to allow no Indian to come nigh him, but to stand behind a 
tree, and shoot any one that would offer to approach him; 
for that there was no dependance to be placed in an Indian. 
In his absence, about eleven o'clock, came the two foremen- 
tioned Indians, and sate down in the Wigwam with me, (the 
Wigwam or encampment, was a few poles set up and covered 
with matts of flags, which the Indians in that country make, 
and carry about with them in winter). They asked me for 
rum, I told them that it belonged to my comrade, and that I 
could not give any till he came. I observed two canoes com- 
ing along the lake, and asked to whom they belonged, they 
said that they were Milechiwack and Renauge's canoes, (the 
names of two Indians) . I then asked them why they told me 
the day before that there were none but them in the neigh- 
bourhood ; they answered that the woods were full of them. 
The canoes landed; the two men came into the Wigwam, 
sat down, and asked for rum, I answered as before. The 
two women, as customary, went into the wood, and put up a 
fire, cut some wood, and carried up their things to the fire, 
and laid their canoes bottom upwards. Then they came into 
my Wigwam, and the young chief of one of the tribes, took 
my pot, that was boiling for dinner, off the fire, and gave it 
to the women to take to their fire and eat. I begged of him 
to leave some for the children that were with me against 
they came home, but in an angry manner he told me that I 
had victuals enough, and might cook more. I then judged 
what they would be at, and put on my leggans and moga- 
zines, and other clothing, and took the large knife, I had for- 
merly taken from the Indians I killed, and put it in my girdle. 
They asked me what I meant by that, I told them I always 
wore it among Indians. Soon after my brother and the two 
children came home, I took them to the boat, and gave them 
some biscuit and dried venison, and asked them if thev 


wished to see what they had seen three weeks before. They 
asked me what that was. I answered, 'Blood.' They said, 
'No.' Then I told them not to tell that I had killed their 
people. They said they would not. My brother gave the In- 
dians some rum, and I returned with the children. The chief 
asked whose children they were. I answered, that they were 
the children of white people, going to Niagara with me. He 
asked who they were again ; and I stood up and pulled out 
the knife and struck it into one of the poles of the house, and 
told them how I had been used, and what I had done, and 
asked them if they were angry. They said they were not; 
that those I had killed were not Ibawas, but that they were 
Pannees,* prisoner slaves, taken from other nations. They 
then asked for more rum, which I gave them ; then two of 
them went over to their own fire, and two of them staid by 
me, and in a short time the other tw r o came back, and these 
that were with me went over to the fire in the wood, and car- 
ried the children with them, by which shifting, it would ap- 
pear they were laying the plot they afterwards very nearly 
effected. They demanded my arms, and said that I had been 
drunk and mad all winter. I told them that I thought myself 
always fit to take care of my own arms, and putting myself 
in a posture of defence, laid hold of my gun, ammunition, and 
hatchet. After killing the first Indians, I cut lead and chewed 
above thirty balls, and above three pound of Goose Shot, for 
I thought it a pity to shoot an Indian with a smooth ball. I 
then desired my brother to carry the things down to the 
water side, to be put into the boat ; but he being but twelve 
months from his father's house in Scotland, but seventeen 
years of age, and unacquainted with the manners of Indians 
was dilatory. I went to assist him, and the Indians, under 
pretence of taking leave of, and shaking hands with me, 
seized upon me, threw me down, and tied me neck and heels. 
One of them took up my hatchet, and would have killed me 
with it, had he not been prevented by another of them. He 
then struck me with his fist upon the face, which hurt me 
much, and put an end to my great talking. They then set me 
up, pinioned my arms behind me, and caused me go and sit 

* Modern form, "Pawnees." 


down by the fire. One of them watched, and took care of me, 
and drank only one dram during the night, it being custom- 
ary among Indians, that one of a party shall always refrain 
from drinking, to take care of the rest. My brother coming 
to look for me, they seized upon him also ; and I fearing they 
would kill him, called out, 'That he was a boy ; that it was 
me killed the Otowas, and that they might ask the children 
if it was not so.' They only tied him, and placed him upon 
the other side of the fire, under the care of another of them 
who did not drink any. They used frequently to untie my 
brother, and send him and the Indian who had him in charge, 
for rum, which they brought in a brass kettle that would con- 
tain about three English gallons. The chief and his com- 
panion drank freely, and also made me drink some out of a 
large wooden spoon that would hold a pint. As I sat by the 
fire tied, having only my Indian dress on, I complained much 
of cold, my shirt being tore down, and laid open ; my leggans 
were also tore in the struggle, and my blood ran down my 
belly and thighs from the stroke I received from the Indian 
on the face, I therefore requested of them to put a pair of my 
own blankets about my shoulders to keep me warm ; but the 
Indian that had the care of me did not approve of this meas- 
ure. Renauge's wife used to pass by me, and raise the blan- 
ket upon my shoulders to keep me warm. She also gave me 
a drink of water when I was first tied ; and if the Indian that 
had the care of me happened to be out of the way, she used to 
touch me on the back with her knee, and tell me to pray ; — 
that my time was short. She and all the children went to 
sleep under the tree where all the guns, hatchets, and other 
things stood. Nican, Equom's wife, kept walking about all 
night. They had tied my hands up to my neck, as well as 
pinioned my arms behind me, and some of them accused me 
of things I knew nothing of. I always appealed to one or 
other of themselves, that what they alleged was not true. As 
my hands were tied to my neck, it gave me great pain, and I 
requested to loose them, saying that while my arms were 
pinioned behind, I could make no use of them. Though I 
was sure they were to kill me, I did not think much about it, 
as I believed it was as good for me to be dead as alive. What 


I regretted most was, that I could not be revenged of them. 
I then desired my brother in broad Scotch, so as not to be 
understood by one of the Indians who could talk a little 
English, to bring me one of the clasp knives from the boat, 
and drop it by me, in order that I might get the cords cut ; 
but Nican, Equom's wife, seeing him go off for the boat, 
called out, 'To kill me directly, that my companion had gone 
for the arms to the boat/ On this I called him back, so that 
I did not get the knife. The Indian who had charge of me, 
told me, that Johnston, meaning Sir William Johnston 
[Johnson], superintendent of Indian affairs, would forgive 
an Indian for killing a white man, but not me for killing an 
Indian. He then drew out the big knife, and turning up the 
coals of the fire, asked me how I should like to be roasted 
there to-morrow. I answered, 'Very well.' Then they gave 
me the spoon half full of rum, of which I drank a little. The 
Indian putting the knife to my breast, asked, 'If I wished to 
see vermilion?' (meaning blood) ; which was saying as 
much as that he meant to kill me unless I drunk it off, which 
I therefore did. He made me drink two sp